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Full text of "The works of the Rev. John Witherspoon, D.D., L.L.D., late president of the College at Princeton, New-Jersey : to which is prefixed an account of the author's life, in a sermon occasioned by his death, by the Rev. Dr. John Rodgers, of New-York"

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WORKS 

OF THE 

P^EV. jOHM FFITHERSPOOM, d. d. l. l. d. 

LATE PRESIDENT OF THE COLLEGE AT PRINCETON, 
NEW-JERSEY. 

I'O IFHICH IS PREFIXED 

An Account of the Author's Life, in a Sermon occaiioned 
by his Death, 

BY THE Rev. Dr. JOHN RODGERS, 

OF New-York. 



In four volumes. Vol. II. 



SECOND EDiriON, REVISED AND CORRECTED. 



PHILADELPHIA : 

Printed and Publifhed by William W. Woodward, 
N*. 52, South Second Street. 



1S02. 



CONTENTS. 



Page 

SERMON XVII. 

THE obje6t of a Chriftian's defire in Religious 
Worlhip. 

Exodus xxxiii. 18. And he faid, I befeech thee, fhew 

me thy Glory. 5. 

SERMON XVIII. 

The Glory of Chriil in his Humiliation. 

Ifaiah Ixiii. 1. fecond claufe.- .This that is glorious 
in his apparel, travelling in the greatnefs of his 
ftrength ? 23 

SERMON XIX. 

The Deceitfulnefs of Sin. 

Hebrews ii i. 13. But exhort one another daily, while 
it is called to day ; left any of you be hardened 
through the deceitfulnefs of Sin. 43 

SERMON XX. 

The Believer going to God as his Exceeding Joy, 

Pfalm xliii. 4. Then will I go unto the altar of God, 

unto God my exceeding joy. 87 

SERMON XXI. 

The Chriftian's difpofition under a fenfe of mer- 
cies received. 

Pfalm cxvi. 7. Return unto thy reft, O my foul, for 

the Lord h^h dealt bountifully vath thee. 1Q7 



CONTEXTS. 



Pag^. 



SERMON XXII. 

A view of the Glory of God humbling to the Soul, 

Job xlii. 5, 6. I have heard of thee by the hearing of 
the ear; but now mine eye feeth thee. Wherefore 
I abhor inyfelf, and repent in duft and afhes. 133 

SERMON XXIII. 

Man in his Natural State. 

Rev. iii. 17. Bccaufe thou fayeft I am rich, and in- 
creafed with goods, and have need of nothing ; and 
knoweft not that thou art Avretched and miferable, 
and poor, and blind, and naked. ISf 

SERMON XXIV. 

An Inducement to come to Chrift. 

Rev. iii. 17. Becaufe thou fayeft I am rich, and in- 
creafed with goods, and have need of nothing; and 
knoweft not that thou art wretched, and miferable, 
and poor, and blind, and naked. 167 

SERMON XXV. 
Truil in God. 

Ifaiah 1. 10. Wno is among you that feareth the Lord, 
that obeyeth the voice of his fervant, that walkcth in 
darkntfs, and hath no light ? let him truft in the name 
of the Lord, and ftay upon his God. l/y 

SERMON XXVI. 

Truft in God. 

Ifaiah 1. 10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, 
that obeyeth the voice of his fervant, that walkcth in 
darknefs, and hath no light? let him truft in the name 
of the Lord, and Hay upon his God. 187 

SERMON XXVII. 

On the Purity of the Heart. 

Proverbs xxx. 7, 8, 9. Two things have 1 required of 
thee, deny me them not before I die : remove far 
from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor 
riches; feed me with food convenient for me, left I 
be full and deny thee, apd fay, who is the Lord ? Or, 



CONTENTS. 

Page 
left I be poor and ileal, and take the name of my 
God in vain.— 203 

SERMON XXVIII. 

Seeking a Competency in the wifdom of Pro- 
vidence. 

Proverbs xxx. 8. Give me neither poverty nor riches; 

feed me with food convenient for me. 219 

SERMON XXIX. 
The Danger of Profperity. 

Proverbs xxx. 9. Left I be full and deny thee, and fay, 
who is the Lord ? Or, left I be poor and fteal, and 
take the name of my God in vain. — 229 

SERMON XXX. 

The Danger of Adverfity, 

Proverbs xxx. 9. Left I be poor and fteal, and take 

the nam^e of my God in vain. , 239 

SERMON XXXI. • 

On the ReHgious Education of Children. 

ISIark x. 13, 14, 15, 16. And they brought young chil- 
dren unto him, that he ftiould touch them, and his 
difciples rebuked thofe that brought them. But when 
Jeius faw it, he was much difpleafed, and faid unto 
them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not : for of fuch is the kingdom of 
God. Verily I fay unto you, Whofoever Ihall not 
receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he fhall 
not enter therein. And he took them vip in his arms, 
put his hands upon them, and bleffed them. 2-i9 

SERMON XXXII. 
Devctednefs to God. 

Pfalm cxvi. 16. Oh Lord, truly I am thy fervant ; I 
am thy fervant, and the fon of thine handmctid; thou 
haft loofcd my bonds. 265 



CONTENTS. 



Page 



SERMON XXXm. 

The Righteous fcarcely Saved, and the Wicked 

certainly Dellroyed. 

1 Peter iv. 18. And if the righteous fcarcely be faved, 

where fliall the ungodly and the finaer appear ? 275 

SERMON XXXIV. 
The Yoke of Chrift. 

M'lttl'.ew xi. 30. For my voke is eafv, and my burden 

is ligliL. ' ■ ■ . 289 

SERMON XXXV. 

The Glory of the Redeemer in the Perpetuity 
of his Work. 

Pfalni Ixxii. 17. His name fli all endure forever : his 
name Ihall be continued as long as the f\m : and men 
ftiall be blefTed in him; all nations fhall call him 
bleffed. 303 

SERMON XXXVI. 

The Petitions of the Infmcere unavailing. 

Pfalm Ixvi. 18. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the 

Lord will not hear me. »2 1 

SERMON XXXVII. 

The abfolute neceflity of Salvation through Chrifl. 

Acls iv. 12. Neither is there falvation in any other: 
for there is none other name under heaven given 
among men whereby we muft be faved. 339 

An Inquiry into the Scripture meaning of Charity, 369 

SERMON XXXVIII. 
The Trial of Religious Truth by its Moral In- 
fluence. 

Matthew vii. 20. Wherefore, by their fruits ye fhall 

know them. 585 

SERMON XXXIX. 
The Charge of Sedition and Fa<5lion againft good 



CONTENTS. 



Men, efpeclally faithful Miniilers, confidered 
and accounted for. 



Psge 



A6ls xvii. 6. laft claufe. Thefe that have turned the 

world upfide down are come hither alfo. 415 

SERMON XL. 

Prayer for National Profperity and for the Revival 
of Religion infeparably conneded. 

Ifaiah li. 9. Awake, awake, put on ftrength, O arm 
of the LORD : Awake as in the ancient days in the 
generations of old. Art not thou it that hath cut 
Rahab and wounded the dragon. 4 55 

SERMON XLI. 

Seafonable Advice to Young P.erfons. 

Pfalm i. 1. Bleffed is the man that walketh not in the 
counfel of the ungodly, nor flandeth in the way of 
fmners, nor fitteth in the feat of the fcornfui. 485 

SERMON XLII. 

Miniflerial Fidelity in declaring the whole Counfel 
of God. 

Acls XX. 26, 27. Wherefore I take you to record this 
day, that I am pure from the blood of all men : for 
1 have not Ihunned to declare unto you all the coun- 
fel of God. 50? 

SERMON XLIII. 

Minifterial character and duty. 
2 Cor. iv. 13 — We alfo believe, and therefore fpeak. 5^5 

SERMON XLIV. 
•The Succefs of the Gofpel entirely of God. 

1 Cor. iii. 5, 6, 7. Vv'ho then is Paul, and who is 
Apollos, butminifters by whom ye believed, even a* 
the Lord ^^vq to every man ? 1 have planted, Apollos 
watered; but God gave the increafe. So then, nei- 
ther is he thatplanteth anything, neither be that wa- 
tereth; but God that eiveth the increafe. 56.9 



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THE OBJECT OF A CHRISTIAN'S DESIRE IN 
RELIGIOUS WORSHIP. 



SERMON 17 



Exodus xxxiii. i8. 



And he said^ I beseech thee^ shew me thy Glory. 

THESE are the words of an Old Teflament Saint; of 
that Mofes, who, as a fervant, was faithful over all 
the houfe of God. True piety is the fame in fubftance in 
all ages, and points at one thing as its centre and its reft, 
the knowledge and enjoyment of God. In the preceding 
verfes, Mofes had been employed in earneft prayer and 
interceffion for the people of Ifrael. He had met with 
fuccefs and acceptance in thefe requefts ; for it is faid, in 
the 14th verfe, " My prefence fhall go with thee, and I 
" will give thee reft." And in the 17th, " And the Lord 
** faid unto Mofes, I will do this thing alfo that thou haft 
*' fpoken ; for thou haft found grace in my fight, and I 
" know thee by name." The condefcenfion of a gracious 
God, though it fatisfies, does not extinguifli the defires 
of his faints, but rather makes them more ardent and im- 
portunate ; for he immediately adds, in the words of the 
text, 1 beseech thee^ sheijo me thy glory. It is highly pro- 
bable, from what follows, that this defire included more 
than was proper for the prefent ftate ; yet fuch a difcove- 
ry as was pofTible, or could be r.feful to him, is gracioufly 

Vol. II. B 



10 The Object of a ChrisdatCs Desire 

promifed, " And he faid, T will make all my goodnefs pafs 
" before thee ; and I will proclaim the name of the Lord 
" before thee ; and will be gracious to whom I will be 
*' gracious, and will fliew mercy on whom I will fhew 
*' mercv." 

My dear brethren, it is our diflinguifhed privilege, that 
\\t have daily unmolefted accefs to the houfe and ordinan- 
ces of God. We ought to rejoice, that we have fo many 
clear and exprefs promifes of the divine prefence, in New 
Teftament worfliip. But what caufe have we to be a- 
fiiamed, that we are fo exceeding prone to Hop (liort in 
the dierefliold, to content ourfelves with the mere form,in- 
ilead ofearneflly breathing after real, inward, and fenfiblc 
communion with God ? I have therefore chofen this fub- 
jeft, in the view of that folemn ordinance, The Lord's 
Supper^ where we have a fenfible reprefe station of Chrift 
crucified, the great mean of our accefs to God, that we 
may ferve him on that occafion particularly, and the re- 
maining part of our lives habitually, in fpirit and in truth. 
And, Oh, that we may have daily more experience of the 
fvveetnefs and benefit of his fervice on earth ! and may 
daily long more for that time, when we fhall ferve him in 
a manner infinitely more perfect and joyful in his temple 
above ! 

In difcourfing on this fubje6l, I propofe, in dependance 
on divine firength. 

I. To explain what is the object of a faint's defire, when 
he faith in the words of Mofeo, / beseech thee^ sheiv mc 
thy glory. 

II. To improve the fubjed — particularly by pointing 
out what is the moil proper preparation for fuch a difco- 
very. 

I. Then, I am to explain what is the objeft of a faint's 
defire, when he faith, in the words of Mofes, I beseech 
thee., shew me thy glory. It is very probable, from the 
pafTage following the text, which I have read, that Mofes 
had fome regard to the fenfible appearance, which, in that 
difpenfation, did often accompany or notify the imme- 
diate prefence of the angel of the covenant. He defired, 



in Religious Worship. il 

probably, to be ftrengthened for beholding fleclfafily the 
Shechinach, or bright and luminous cloud which fome- 
times appeared over the tabernacle, and, by its glorious 
iufire, tended to afFed the mind with a fenfe clthe power 
and fovereignty of the Lord Jehovah. But this, iurely, 
was not all ; for this, in itfelf, was only a fubfidiary mean 
which f^rved to carry their views to the real and fpiritual 
alory of God. To the laft therefore, we lliall confine our 
attenllon, as to what the gofpel particularly opens to us, 
and what believers are enabled, by faith, to apprehend. 

When Chriilians, then, defire to fee the glory of God, it 
feems chiefly to imply the following things : i. They de- 
fire to fee the glory of an eternal independent God ; they 
defire to fee the only living and true God in his own in- 
herent excellence and infinite perfeftion. God is the^ 
fource and fum of all excellence ; or, in the language of 
the Pfalmift, '' the perfedion of beauty." Every thing 
noble or beautiful in the creature, is only a faint ray from 
the fulnefs of the Creator's glory. Therefore he is the 
proper objed of the higheft efteem, and moil profound ve- 
neration, of every reafonable creature. The vifion and 
fruition of God conftitute the employment and happineis 
of heaven : and even here, while they are in preparation 
for the higher houfe, the faints defire fuch a difcovery ot 
the divine'^glory as their condition will admit of, and take 
pleafure in contemplating his nature, as revealed to them 
both in his word and in his works. They dwell with 
adoring wonder, on all his attributes, which are boundlefs 
and unfearchable : the immenfity of his being, who fills 
heaven and earth with his prefence, who feeth in fecret, 
and from whom the thickeft darknefs cannot cover us ; 
his irrefifiible power, " who fpake, and it was done, who 
'* commanded, and it flood faft ;"— who called this great 
univerfe out of nothing into being, '* who doth in the army 
*' of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth what- 
" ever feems good unto him :" his infinite holinefs and 
J purity, " with whom evil cannot dwell, nor finners ftand 
" in his prefence ; who looketh to the moon, and it Ihineth 
*' not, to the ftara, and they are not pure in his fight :'* 
his infinite wifdom, " who worketh all things according 



12 The Object of a Christian's Desire 

"• lo his will, who brlngeth the counfel of the heathen to 
*' nought, and makes the devices of the people of none 
" effedl :" his boundlefs goodnefs, which fills the earth, 
and flows in plenteous ftreams to all the creatures of his 
power. 

But, perhaps, fome are faying, what is there extraordi- 
nary or peculiar in all this ? is it not clearly revealed in 
the word of God ? can any Chriftian be ignorant of it ? 
If Mofes, in that early difpenfation, defired a difcovery of 
the divine perfeftions, nothing of that kind is wanting to 
us, who, fince the fulnefs of time, have fo complete a reve- 
lation in the New Teflament. But, my brethren, I muft 
beg of you to obferve thefe two things : 

1. That there is in the fulnefs of the Godhead an in- 
finite and endlefs variety even for the employment of our 
intellediual powers. Well might Zophar, in the book of 
Job, fay. Jot) xi. 7, 8, 9, " Canfl thou, by fearching, find 
*' out God ? canft thou find out the Almighty unto perfec- 
" tion ? It is as high as heaven, what canfl; thou do ? 
*' deeper than hell, what canfi: thou know ? the meafure 
*' thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the 
*' fea." 

2. That the real and proper knowledge of the glory of 
God is by inward and fpiritual illumination. The holy 
Scriptures themfelves, however clear a difcovery they con- 
tain of the nature of God, are no better than a fealed book 
to many even of the greateft comprehenfion of mind. It 
is one thing to think, and fpeak, and reafon on the perfec- 
tions of God, as an objeft of fcience, and another to glori- 
fy him as God, or to have a deep and awful impreffion of 
him upon our hearts. Real believers will know this by 
experience. A diicovery of the glory of God, is not to 
inform them of a truth which they never heard before, but 
to give lively penetrating views of the meaning and im- 
portance of thofe truths of which they had, perhaps, heard 
and Ipoken times without number. Sometimes one word 
fpoken of the Eternal, the Almighty, the Holy One, will 
be carried home upon the confcience and heart with fuch 
irrefiltible force, as to fliew them more of God than ever 
tjiey had feen before. O what a difference is there between 



in Religious PVorship. 13 

the way in which we ufe the fame words in prayer or 
praife, at one time, and at another ! None but downright 
atheifts will deny the omnifcience and omniprefence of 
God ; but how far is this general acknowledgment from, 
that overwhelming fenfe of his prefence which believers 
have fometimes in his worfliip in public or in fecret. 
What a new fenfe of God's prefence had Jacob at Bethel, 
when he faid, Gen. xxviii. 16, 17, " Surely the Lord is 
" in this place, and 1 knew it not : and he was afraid, 
" and faid, how dreadful is this place ? this is none other 
" but the houfe of God, and this is the gate of heaven !'* 
What a fenfe of God's prefence had Hagar, Gen. xvi. 13, 
when " fhe called the name of the Lord that fpake unto 
" her, thou, God feeft me ; for, (he faid, have I alio here 
*' looked after him that feeth me ?" or Job when he ex- 
preffes himfelf thus. Job xlii. 5, 6, " I have heard of thee 
" by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye feeth thee. 
" Wherefore I abhor myfelf, and repent in dull and allies ?" 

I fliall only further obferve, that it plainly appears that 
this difcovery of the glory of God, belongs only to his own 
people. Wicked men are faid, in fcripture, to be fuch 
as know not God. They are alfo defcribed a lirtle differ- 
ently, as not having God in all their thoughts ; not but 
that wicked men may have a general or cullomary belief, 
in the being and perfeftions of God, but becaufe they 
have not that intimate fenfe of his prefence, that difcove- 
ry of the glory and amiablenefs of his perfeftions, which 
is peculiar to his own children. Even the natural per- 
feftions of God, his power and wifdom, canijot be beheld 
with fuch veneration by any, as by thofe who are feniiblc 
of their obligations to ferve him. But above all, the glo- 
ry of his infinite holinefs and juflice can never be feen, 
but by thofe who defire to fubniit to it ; nor the glory of 
his infinite mercy, but by thofe who fee themfelves in- 
debted to it. This leads me to obferve, 

2. That the believer defires to fee the glory of a graci- 
ous and reconciled God, not only infinitely glorious in 
himfelf, but infinitely merciful to him. This view ought 
never to be feparated from the former. Take away the 
divine mercy, and the lufire of his other perfections is too 



14 '^^s Object of a Christian's Desire 

flrong for us to behold. The power, wifdom, hollnefs and 
JLiftice of God, feparated from his mercy, fpeak nothing 
but unmixed terror to the guilty. It is very probable, that 
there was fomething in the defire of Mofes, in the text, 
according to his own view, ignorant and unadvifed ; but 
God granted his requefl only in fuch a way as could be 
ufeful to him. When he fays, / beseech thee shew me thy 
giory^ the anfwer is in the following terms, "I will make all 
" my goodnefs pafs before thee; and I will proclaim the 
" name of the Lord before thee. And I will be gracious 
" to whom I will be gracious, and will Ihew mercy on 
" whom I will fliew mercy," And again, it is faid in the 
following chapter, 6, 7, verfes, '' And the Lord pafled by 
" before him, and proclaimed, the Lord, the Lord God, 
" merciful and gracious, long-fufTering and abundant in 
" goodnefs and truth. Keeping mercy for thoufands, 
••' forgiving iniquity, and tranfgreffion, and fm : and that 
" will by no means clear the guilty, vifiting the iniquity of 
" the fathers upon the children, and upon the childrens 
"■ children, unto the third and fourth generation." 

We may alfo fee, that in the v/hole difpenfation of dir 
vine grace to men, God is reprefented as coming under a 
peculiar relation to them ; and they are called not only to 
\trxQ him as God, but to trull in him as their God. Eve- 
ry Iiearer mull be fenfible, how clTential this is to a be- 
liever's defire, of feeing the glory of God. He cannot 
confider him as God over-all, without, at the fame time, 
remembering, that he is one with whom he hath to do. 
There is alfo a neceffity here peculiar to ourfelves. The 
holy angels confider him as their Maker and their happi- 
nefs : but the children of Adam mull confider, not only 
his goodnefs to the innocent, but his mercy to the guilty. 
This glory of God fhines brightly, and fhines only in the 
face of Jefus Chrifl. God we are told, " dwelleth in light 
" which no man can approach unto. No man hath feen 
'* God at any time ; but the only begotten of the Father, 
" he hath declared him." In this wonderful difpenfation, 
indeed, all the perfections of God are found united ; but 
above all, " Grace and m.ercy fliine and reign through 
*' righteoufnefs, by Jefus Clirill our Lord. 



in Religions M'^orships t^ 

Here I mufl: add, that the believer not only defires to 
fee the glory of God's mercy, in general, as difplayed in 
the gofpel, in which lie may have a fliare, but to take an ap- 
propriating vievV of it, as what he hath a clear right and 
title to call his own. Doubtlefs the mercy of God is pub- 
liihed, offering falvation to the chief of finners. It is their 
duty to accept of it ; it is their intereft to cleave to it. 
But they are many times deterred by what they fee in 
God, they are many times difcouraged by what they ffcel 
in themfelves, and are afraid to affert their title to fo great 
a bleffing. But when, by the Holy Spirit, they are ena- 
bled to fee the infinite price paid for their redemption, in 
the crofs of Chrill: ; when they fee the riches of divine 
gi'ace, in the crofs Chrill ; when they hear the urgent in- 
vitations to them to believe in the crofs of Chrifl ; when 
they are enabled freely to renounce and quit hold of every 
other claim ; when their hearts are fweetly confirained 
by the bonds of their Redeemer's love ; they can then 
look upon God as their reconciled Father, through him 
who hath made peace, by the blood of his crofs, and fay 
unto him, My Lord! and my God! What an endearing 
view is this of the divine glory, and what ineffable fatis- 
fadlion fprings from it, to the foul ? What an unfpeakable 
confolation to thofe who have been wounded in their fpi- 
rits, and grieved in their minds, when they are enabled 
to apply the encouraging promifes of the holy fcriptures ? 
Ifa. i. 1 8. " Come, now, and let us reafon together, faith 
*' the Lord ; though your fins be as fcarlet, they ftall be 
" as white as fnow ; though they be red like crimfon, 
*' they fliall be as wool. Ifa. xliii. 25, I, even J, am he 
" that blotteth out thy tranfgrelTions, for mine own fake ; 
*' and will not remember thy fms, xliv. 22. I have blot- 
'' ted out as a thick cloud, thy tranfgreffions, and as a 
*' cloud thy fms. Return unto me, for I have redeemed 
»* thee." 

3. The believer defires to fee the glory of God, as an all- 
fufficient God. This is a necelTary view of God, as the 
fupport and happinefs of the creature, as well as the 
flrength and coniolation of the fmner. 



i6 TJje Object of a Christldn's Desire 

My brethren, man was made for living upon God ; for- 
getting this, he iirft went aftray from him. Self-fufficien- 
cy, and a delufive fenfe of independence, is infeparable 
from a fmful ftate. Convidtion levels a blow at the foun- 
dation of this mirtake. Serious confideration fhews us 
how infufficient we are for our own happinefs. Daily ex- 
perience difcovers the inherent vanity of all created com- 
forts in themfelves, and as feparated from God. When 
the penitent returns to God, he not only returns from the 
fervice of other mafters, to him, as his rightful Lord; but 
forfakes all forbidden joys, and cleaves to God as his hap- 
pinefs, and refts in him as his portion. Does not this ap- 
pear from the uniform language of fcripture, with regard 
to both parts of the covenant ? what belongs to God, and 
v/hat belongs to man. See the tenor of an early promife 
to the father of the faithful, Gen. xv. i. " Fear not 
" Abram ; I am thy fliield, and thy exceeding great re- 
"' ward.'* Multitudes of others are of the fame import. 

The power and providence of God, in behalf of his peo- 
ple, are largely and beautifully defcribed in the ninety-firft 
Pfalm, " He that dvvelleth in the fecret place of the Molt 
" High, fhall abide under the fliadow of the Almighty. I 
" will fay of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortrefs ; 
" my God, in him will I truft. Surely he fliall deliver 
" thee from the liiare of the fowler, and from the noifome 
*' pellilence. He fliall cover thee with his feathers, and 
** under his wings fhalt thou trull:. His truth fliall be thy 
" fiiield and buckler," &c. 2 Cor. vi. 17. " Wherefore 
" come out from among them, and be ye feparate, faith 
" the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will re- 
*' ceive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye fliall be 
" my fons and daughters, liiith the Lord Almighty.'* On 
the other hand, the invitation, or exhortation to return, is 
ordinarily prefled from the profit of the change, Ifa. Iv. i. 
" Ho, every one that thirfleth ! come ye to the waters ; 
" and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat ; yea 
" come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without 
" price." And, to name no more palfages, when God 
came to eflablifli the fiith of Abraham in his promife, he 
fays, Gen. xvii. i, " I am the Almighty," or as it ought 



in /Religious Worship. l*j 

to be tranfldted, " the all-fufficient God : walk before me, 
*'• and be thou perfea." Now, believers defire to lee the 
dory of God, as all-fufficient ; and all difcoveries of this 
nature are attended with unfpeakable complacence and 
fatisfaaion. They fee the glory of an infinite God as 
theirs, and rejoice in the richnefs of their portion. Wea- 
ried w'ith repeated difappointments, and deeply convinced 
of die vanity of the creature, they refl in him, as able to 
give them complete happlnefs; happinefs that wilUiever 
change ! happinefs that will never be exhaufted : He that 
hath chofen God as his portion, hath, as our Saviour beau- 
tifully expreffeth it, made " choice of that good part, which 
" cannot be taken away from him." 

My brethren, we are now come to the very fubftance 
of pradical religion. The glory of an all-fufficient God, 
appears as more than a balance to all that pretends to rival 
him in our affeaions ; to all that we are called to give up 
for his fake. When the believer fees the fulnefs of God, 
then his anxiety, and diilreffing fears, of every kind, 
are at an end. Does he want provifion ? " The earth is 
" the Lord's, and the fulnefs thereof. The young lions 
" do lack and fuffer hunger ; but they that feek the Lord, 
" fhall not want any good thing." Does he want friends ? 
God is able to make his enemies to be at peace widi him. 
Does he want any outward comfort ? God ^s able to pro- 
cure it, or make him happy without it. Not to mention 
particulars ; the triumph of faith, in this view, is to attain 
an ablblute and unconditional refignation to the will of 
God, with a firm perfuafion, that he is able to make alt 
things work together for our good, and willing to bellow 
every thing that is for our real intereit. It is to fay with 
the prophet, Hab. iii. 17, '' Although the fig tree fliall 
" not blofibm, neither fliall fruit be in the vines, the labor 
«' of the olive fliall fail, and the fields fhall yield no meat ; 
" the flock fliall be cut off from the fold, and there fhall 
" be no herd in the flails : yet I will rejoice in the Lord ; 
" I will joy in the God of my falvation." 

I fhall only add, that the divine all-fufficiency is to be 
■confidered, as regarding our fanaification as well as com- 
fort. What diflrels does not the Chriftian often fuffci' 
Vol. II. C 



1 8 T^he Object of a Christianas Desire 

from the treachery or his own heart, and from the power 
of furrounding tem.ptations ? Covered with (liame for his 
pad undeadiallnefs, convinced, by experience, of his own 
weaknefs, he hath no other refuge but in God. And what 
courage does he derive from the fulnefs of divine perfedli- 
on, the greathefs of divine power, and the faithfulnefs of 
the divine promife ? " My grace fhall be fufiicient for 
*^ thee, and my llrengdi (hall be made perfe6l in weak- 
" nefs.'' He then fays, with the Pfalmift, Pfah Ixxi. i6, 
*' I will go in the flrength of the Lord God : I will make 
" mention of thy righteoufnefs, even of thine only." 

II. I proceed now, in the lafl place, to make fome 
practical improvement of what hath been faid. And, ifl, 
Let us admire the divine condefcenfion, in admitting his 
faints to a difcovery of his glor)^ Solomon fays, with very 
great propriety, in the language of aftonilhment : " But 
*' will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth :" 
The fame ought to be, nay, the fame certainly are, the 
fentiments of every real believer. But let us remember 
what has been hinted at above, that our accefs to God, 
and our communion with him, is, and only can be, 
through the Mediator of the new covenant, in whom we 
have accefs, by faith, unto God. 

2dly, Let me befeech you to try yourfelves, whether 
this ever hath been your attainment, and whether it is 
your fincere defire ? Do you know, in any meafure, what 
it i^ to fee the glory of the true God ? Hath he appeared 
before you in terrible majefty ? Have your very fouls 
been made to bow down before him, and to give him the 
glory that is juilly due to his name ? Have you feen the 
glory of a reconciled God ? Have you chofen him, in 
Chrifl:, as your portion ? Have you devoted yourfelves, 
without referve, to his dilpofal ? Again, have you feen 
the glory of an all-fufficient God ? Surely I fpeak to ma- 
ny who have feen the vanity of the creature. Probably 
you have tailed a little of the fufferings of a finful ftate. 
Where did \ ou feek your confolation ? where do you find 
your fupport? Have you learned the holy and hnppy art 
of pouring out your fouls to God ? Have you felt the 



f« Religious Worship. 19 

fweetnefs of it ? And have you faid, with the Pfalmift, 
" Return unto thy reft, O my foul ! for the Lord hath 
" dealt bountifully with thee ? Is it your earneft defire 
to fee the glory of God ? Can you fay with the Pfalmift, 
Pfal. Ixiii. I, 2, " O God I thou art my God, early will 
" I feek thee : my foul thirfteth for thee ; my flefti longeth 
" for thee in a dry and thirfty land where no water is, to 
'' fee thy power and thy glory, fo as I have feen thee in 
*' the fanduary." 

3dly, 1 will now proceed to exhort you, in the moft 
earneft manner, to diligence in feeking after real com- 
munion with God in his inftituted worftiip. How highly 
are we favored with light and liberty ? how little are many 
fenfible of their privileges ? I have often, on fuch occa- 
fions, put you in mind of the fatal efFefts of a heartlefs, 
cuftomary, formal worftiip ; it is provoking to God, per- 
nicious to others, hardening to the heart, and ruining to 
the foul. Were but a fociety of thofe Proteftants abroad, 
who are lying under perfecution, to enjoy the feafon which 
we now enjoy, what an edge would be upon their fpirits ? 
what a fenfe of gratitude in their hearts ? what fire and ' 
zeal in their affections ? Strange, indeed, that public 
profperity Ihould be fo ftupifying, and the approach of 
eternity to every individual fhould not be awakening ; 
while the young and ftrong are hurried off" the ftage, while 
every day is bringing us nearer to our laft, while every 
ordinance is adding to our charge, that we ftiould not de- 
fire to fee the glory of God in his fan6tuary here, that it 
may be the earneft of our future inheritance, and prepare 
us for his immediate prefence hereafter. 

Suffer me to fpeak a few words to thofe that are young. 
God is my witnefs, that their welfare is at my heart. Per- 
haps you will think, what hath been faid hardly applicable 
to you. The defire of Mofes, the man of God, intimate 
communion and fellovvfhip with God, the attainment of 
ripe and experienced Chriftians, all this you will fay, is 
unfuitable to me : nay, perhaps, by a baftard humility, 
you will fay, to expecl it, would be prefumption in me. 
But you are greatly deceived : there are none who have 
more gracious invitations to come unto God than young 



20 ^'he Object of a Christian'' s Desire 

finners : there are none who have greater reafon to ex- 
pe6l nearnefs to God than young faints. Do you not 
read, that God revealed himfelf to Samuel, the child, when 
he negle6led Eli, the old prophet ? Befides, I would re- 
commend earneflnefs and affeclion to you ; not only for 
your greater profit, but to prevent your apoftafy. A little 
religion is very hard to hold ; it is like a lamp v>'hich is 
hardly lighted, which the leaft breath of wind will extin- 
guifli, or a tree that is but newly planted, which a rude 
thruft will overturn. Unlefs you make God and his fer- 
vice, your hearty choice, you will not carry it long as your 
burden, but will be foon tempted to throw it down. Be 
concerned, therefore, I befeech you, to attend on his infti- 
tuted worfhip, not in a carelefs and formal manner, but 
let the " deiire of your fouls be to his name, and the re- 
*' membrance of him.'* 

I fhall now conclude the fubjedt, by offering to thofe, 
who would fee the glory of God, a few direftions, as to the 
belt preparation for fuch a difcovery, id. If you would 
fee the glory of God in his fan(5^uary, be ferious in felf- 
' examination, and in the renunciation of all known fin. 
Holinefs is an elTential attribute of the divine nature ; and, 
therefore, he mufl be worfhipped in the beauty of holi. 
nefs. Thus the Pfalmifl refolved with himfelf, Pfal. xxvi. 
6. " I will wafli mine hands in innocence, fo will I com- 
*' pafs thine altar, O Lord !" It is true, none, who have 
any knowledge of the corruption of their own hearts, can 
reafonably hope to be perfei^tly free from fm in the prefent 
life : yet a real Chriitian will have it, as the objeft of his 
daily Itudy, to " cleanfe himfelf from all filthinefs of the 
" fielh and fpirit, that he may perfect holinefs in the fear 
'' of God." It was fm that firfi: rendered us unfit for com- 
munion with God ; and therefore, our recovery of this 
happy privilege will be but in proportion to our fan6"lifi- 
caticn. To bring iinful difpolitions, indulged, and ftill 
fuffered in the heart, to the worlliip of God, and to ex- 
pert acceptance in fuch a (late, is implied blafphemy, and 
the greatelt diiiionor we can poflibly do to him. 

2. In order to fee the glory of God, you mud be cloth- 
ed v.'ith humility. Ho difpcfiiion more elfentiaJly nsceifa- 



■in Religious Worship. 21 

ry to a Chriftian at all times, but more efpecially, when 
he makes an immediate approach to God in his worfhip .' 
Ifa. Ixvi. 2. " For all thofe things hath mine hand made : 
" and all thofe things have been, faith the Lord : but to 
" this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of 
" a contrite fpirit, and trembleth at my word." And, in- 
deed, how can we confider the nature of that God whom 
we worfhip, and our own finful and miferable eftate, 
Vi^ithout being ftruck with a fenfe of the neceifity of deep 
humility and felf-abafement in our intercourfe with him ? 
It is particularly to be noticed, that felf-abafement, and 
even felt-abhorrence, is the immediate efie6t of a fenfc of 
the divine prefence. See to this purpole, Ifa. vi. i, — 5. 
*' In the year that King Uzziah died, I faw alfo the Lord 
" fitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train 
" filled the temple -. above it flood the feraphims : each 
" one had fix wings : with twain he covered his face, and 
" with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did 
" fly. And one cried unto another, and faid Holy, holy, 
" holy is the Lord of hofls, the whole earth is full of his 
*' glory 1 And the pods of the door moved at the voice 
*' of him that cried, and the houfe was filled with fmoke. 
" Then faid I, Wo is me ; for I am undone, becaufe I 
*' am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midft of 
" a people of unclean lips ; for mine eyes have feen the 
'' King, the Lord of hofts !'' See alfo Job xlii. 5, 6. '' I 
*' have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; but now 
" mine eye feeth thee : wherefore 1 abhor myfelf, and re- 
*' pent in du(l and aflies." Let us endeavor, therefore, 
to be truly and inwardly humble. Let us remember the 
grace of redemption, what guilty criminals we were, be- 
fore unmerited mercy and fovereign love found out a way 
for our recavery. Happy they, where humility arifes 
from a real exercife of foul ! How difficult, how rare a 
thing, is true humility ? How eafy is it to ufe modefl and 
fubmiffive expreffions, compared to attaining a truly hum- 
ble and mortified flate of mind ? May almighty God, by 
his power, make us humble ; and do thou, O blelfed Je- 
fus ! " call down every high thought, and lofty imagina- 
*' tion, that exalteth itfelf againfl thee." 



Z2 T/je Object of a Christian's Desire^ &?r. 

3. In the lafi: place; if you defire to fee the glory of 
God, be fervent in preparatory prayer : if there is any 
bleflingthat requires importunity and wreflling with God, 
furely this high and happy privilege of communion with 
him in his houfe muft be of that kind. And I think, we 
are warranted to fay, that, in the divine government, there 
are feme bleffings that require more importunity than 
others. See a remarkable pafFage, Mark ix. 28, 29. 
" And when he was come into the houfe, his difciples 
" alked him privately, why could not we cafl him out ? 
" and he faid unto them, this kind can come forth by no- 
" thing, but by prayer and fading." If fome devils were 
fo obllinate in their pofleffion, that the fame degree of faith 
and fervor which prevailed over others, could not caft 
them out, muil: not the fame thing hold, from analogy, 
with refpec!!! to other mercies ? And how juftly are indif- 
ferent, luke-warm worfliippers denied that blefllng which 
they fo lightly efteem ? Let me therefore, earneflly, be- 
feech every ferious perfon not to reftrain prayer before 
God, but to repeat and urge the plea, that he would be 
gracioufly prefent with us ; that he would pour down his 
Spirit from on high, and make us to know, to our hap- 
py experience, '* that a day in his courts is better than a 
*' thouland ; and that it is better to be door-keepers in the 
** houfe of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickednefs.'" 



C ^3 ] 



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THE GLORY OF CHRIST IN HIS HUMILIATION, 



SERMON 18. 



Ifaiah Ixiii. i. fecond claufe. 

■ This that is. glorious in his apparel, travelling in the 
greatness of his strength ? 

MY brethren, all the works of God are great and 
marvellous, worthy of the attention and admira- 
tion of his rational creatures. The contemplation of what 
is now revealed of him, is the noblell employment of 
which we are capable in this world : and the more clear 
and enlarged contemplation of him fliall be our employ- 
ment and happinefs in the world above. But of all the 
works of God, there is none in which his perfections are 
fo fignally difplayed, as in the redemption of an ele£l 
world through Jefus Chrid. All other views of his glory 
are faint and fading in comparifon of this. However 
much we are called to adore the power and wifdom of 
Creation, or the goodnefs and bounty of Providence, our 
praifes are extremely defective, if we omit that new fong 
which he hath put into our mouths, even praife to our God 
for his unfpeakable gift. 

Redeeming love, my brethren, is the immediate obje6l 
of our attention in the holy ordinance of the Lord's fupper. 
Here is a fymbolical reprefentation of it, that faith may 
be llrengthened by the aid of fenfe. I hope, therefore, 
it will not be improper, by way of preparation for it, 
to take a view of the glory of our Redeemer's charader, 
whole fufferings we are now to commemorate. As fai- 



V. 



24 The Glory of Christ 

vation is an agreeable found, fo the name of a Saviour 
)s a delighlFul name to every believer. I may therefore 
Ikfely prefunie upon the attention of all fuch at leail, while 
I endeavor to fet him before you, as he is reprefented in 
the flrong and forcible language of the text, V/ho is this 
that Cometh from Edom^ vjith dyed garments from Boz- 
rah ? this that is glorious iti his apparel, travellitjg i?i the 
greatJiess of his strength ? Such a theme will be the mofl 
proper introduction to the work of this day ; that, as we 
are to commemorate Chrill's fufferings as an extraordinary 
event, he is here fpoken of, and his appearance inquired 
into, in words of afioni&ment and admiration : IVho is 
thi^ that Cometh from Edom, %vith dyed garments Jroni 
Bozrah ! this that is glorious in his apparel, tra'uelling 
in the greatness of his strength I I flmll not fpend time 
in aifigning the reafons why interpreters generally apply 
thefe words to Chrifl, but only obferve, that, on this fup- 
pofition, they contain a mixed reprefentation of glory and 
fullering, of ftrength and abafement, which is the very 
fub.'lance and meaning of a Saviour on the crofs. 

Agreeably to this, the fingle point I have in view, in 
the prefent difcourfe, is, through Divine afliftance, to point 
out to you, in what refpeCls the glory of our Redeemer 
was apparent even in his fufferings, and fhone through 
even the dark cloud that covered him in his humiliation, 
or in the language of the text, how he might be faid, to 
tra^cei'in the greatness of his strength : and then I fhall 
make fome practical improvement of what may be faid. 

I. I am to point out to you, in what refpefts the glory 
of our Redeemer was apparent even in his lufferings, and 
Ihone through even the dark cloud that covered him in his 
humiliation. As the love of God to man, in providing 
redemption for him, was inconceivable, fo the mean which 
he employed, in accomplifliing this great work, wxs equal- 
ly allonifliing. That his eternal and well-beloved Son 
Ihould veil his divine glory, clothe himfelfwith human 
flefli, fubjeCt himfelf to a life of pain and fuffering, and 
at lad make his foul an offering for fin upon a crofs — ■ 
This, as it wa« not after the manner of men, nor bore 



in his Humiliation, is 

upon it any of the marks of human v/ifdom, as it was de- 
fioned and doth tend, to abafe the pride of man, and exalt 
the grace of God ; fo it is with difficulty that man can be 
brought to an approbation of it. " The crofs of Chrifl: 
" was to the Jews a fttimbling-block, and to the Greeks 
*' foollihnefs.'' It is therefore proper, that when we are 
to commemorate the incarnation and death of our Re- 
deemer, we ihould attend to thefe evidences of his divine 
glory that Hill appeared even in his lowell abafement. By 
this means, while we grieve for the fufferings that fm 
brought upon him, we may ftill triumph in his power ; for 
he is glorious even in his red apparel, and travels in the 
greatnefs of his ilrength. 

I mull here obferve that I do not mainly intend, in 
difcourfing on this fubjed, to eftabiilli the truth of our 
Saviour's divine milFion, againll thofe who deny it on the 
above or any other account : this would be too cold and 
abllraaed an argument for our prefent purpofe. What 
I propofe, is chiefly and direaiy defigned for heightening 
the devotion, for quickening the love, and increafmg the 
faith and comfort of believers. However, at the fame 
time, confideri^ng the humiliation of Chrift in the light of 
an objeaion againft his divine commiffion from the fug- 
geftions of human wifdom, what (liall be faid may alfo be 
confidered as an anfwer to this objedion, and ferving to 
remove the offence of the crofs. 

I. Upon this fubjea, therefore, obferve firfl, the glory 
of our Redeemer, in his fufferings, appears from his ready 
and chearful undertaking of the work of our redemption. 
There can be little honor to any man in fubmitting to 
what he cannot avoid, or doing what he dare not refufe ; 
but the humiliation of Chrift was perfeaiy voluntary, as 
no conftraint could be put upon him. Therefore his ori- 
ginal dignity and greatnefs, is not only, if I may fpeak fo, 
preferved unhurt, but iniproved and heightened by the 
grace of infinite condefcenfion. This circumftance of 
Chrill's readinefs to undertake the v/ork of our redemp- 
tion, is often taken notice of in fcripture. Pfal. xl. 6, 7, 8. 
" Sacrifice and offering thou didft not defire, mine ears 
''haft thou opened; burnt-offering and fin- offering haft 

A^OL. IL D 



26 The Glory of Christ 

" thou not required. Then faid I, Lo I come ; in the 
" volume of the book it is written of me • I delight to do 
*' thy will, O my God !'' — It is certain, that redemption 
could not be the work of a creature ; and it is alfo proba- 
ble, that no created being would have been willing to efiay 
it. Nay, it is thought by many to be the import of the 
remarkable palTage juft now cited, which is applied by the 
apoftle Paul to our Saviour, that in the councils of heaven 
it was a6lually propofed to thofe glorious fpirits that fur- 
round the throne of God, and their ftrength and inclina- 
tion both were found infufficient. Neither is there any 
thing improbable in the fuppofition, that God might difco- 
ver to them his purpofe of mercy, upon a proper media- 
tor interpofmg, and that none was found willing to fub- 
je6t himfelf to divine wrath, incurred by rebellious man. 
If fo, then it is not only in one fenie, but in all fenfes true, 
what Chrid is reprefented as faying in the 5th verfe of the 
chapter where my text lies, " And I looked, ?nd tliere 
" was none to help ; and I wondered that there was none 
*' to uphold ; therefore mine own arm brought falvation 
" unto me, and my fury it upheld me." This interpre- 
tation may be confirmed by fomething fimilar to it, re- 
corded, John, vi. 5, 6. " When Jefus then lift up his 
"• eyes, and faw a great company come unto him, he faith 
*' unto Phillip, Whence fliall we buy bread that thefe may 
" eat ? And this he laid to prove him ; for he himfelf 
" knew what he would do." There is another paflage 
which gives us nearly the fame idea, viz. of Chrifl's being 
only capable of taking the charge of the redeemed and 
their interell in Providence, Rev, v. 2, 3, 4, 5. " And I 
'* faw a ftrong angel proclaiming with aloud voice, Who 
" is worthy to open the book, and to loofe the feals there- 
" of ? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under 
" the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look 
" thereon. And I wept muchbecaufe no man was found 
*' worthy to open, and to read the book, neither to look 
" thereon. And one of the elders faith unto me. Weep 
*' not ; behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of 
*'• David, hath j)revailed to open the book, and to loofe the 
" feven feals thereof." How glorious then was the com- 



in bis Humiliation, 27 

paffion of our Redeemer, who fo willingly and chearfully 
fubjeded himfelf to that abafement and iuffering, to which 
none could conftrain him ? Thus he fays to himfelf, John 
X. 17,18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, becaufe I 
*' lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man 
" taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myfelf : I have 
" power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. 
" This commandment have I received of my Father." 
He is not reprefented as merely confenting, becaufe rione 
elfe<:ould or would perform the work, and fo having it as 
it were devolved upon him by neceffity ; not as yielding 
with reluftance, and overcome by great earnellnefs and 
importunity, but faying with readinefs and chearfulnefs,^ 
*' Lo, I come ; in the volume of the book, it is written of 
" me. 1 delight to do thy will, O my God ; yea thy law 
*' is within my heart." 

There is one ciitumftance which deferves particular 
notice, when we are confidering the dignity of our Re- 
deemer's undertaking; that he did well and thoroughly 
underiland the iifficulty of it, and the weight of that wrath 
which he fubmitted to endure. It is not fuch an evidence 
of greatnefs of mind, when a perfon involves himfelf in 
difficulties, and expofes himfelf to dangers, if he only 
runs an uncertain rifl^ of meeting with them, or has but a 
confufed and indiftinft apprehenfion of their nature ; but 
it difcovers a peculiar fortitude of fpirit to have a clear 
view of fufferings, and yet compofedly and ileadily^ to 
fubmit to them for a good end. So true is this maxim, 
that it feems to be the only thing that renders human life 
fupportable, that all future fufferings are uncertain even 
in the event, and, at any rate, in their nature but imper- 
feaiy known. Now, how does it ferve to illuflrate the 
glory of our Redeemer's undertaking, that he had a clear 
and perfea foreknowledge of every event that was to be- 
fal him ? He knew the number and malice of the enemies 
he had to encounter ; and the bitternefs of that cup, the 
dregs of which he was to drink off: Yet fteady to his pur- 
pofe, and confcious of his own power, he went out to the 
combat as one affured of viftory. As he began fo h.e 
carried on his worlc, with the fame undaunted refolution ; 



28 The Glory of Christ 

witnefs what he fays, Luke xii. 50. " Ent I have a bap. 
*' tifm to be baptized with, and how am I flraitened till 
" it be accomplilhed !" All this, my brethren, is further 
confirmed, by fome paffages which are recorded toward 
the clofe of his life, when he drew near to the concluding 
ibeneofhis fufFerings, Matt. xvi. 21. "From that time 
*' forth began Jefus to ihew unto his difciples, how that 
" he mud go unto Jerufalem, and fufFer many things of 
*' the elders, and chief priefts, and Scribes, and be killed, 

*' and be raifed again the third day." -xx. 17, 18, 19. 

*' And Jefus going up to Jerufalem, took the twelve difci- 
" pies apart in the way, and faid unto them, Behold we 
" go up to Jerufalem, and the Son of man fhall be betray- 
"- ed unto the chief priefis, and unto the fcribes, and they 
" fliall condemn him to death. And fliall deliver him to 
" the Gentiles, to mock and to fcourge, and to crucify 
*' him: and the third day he iliall rife again." Luke ix- 51. 
" And it came to pafs, when the time v/as come that he 
'' ihould be received up, he (ledfaflly fet his face to go to 
'' Jerufalem." To thefe I fliall only add, John xviii. 11. 
*' Then faid Jefus unto Peter, Put up thy fword into the 
"■ fiieath : the cup which my Father hath given me, fliall 
'■'• I not drink it r" Thus did there appear a glory even 
in his humiliation, a majefty even in his fuiiering ; and 
thus did he come forth and travel in the greatnefs of his 
flrength. 

In the fecond place, the glory of our Redeemer, in his 
humilip.tion, appears from the greatnefs of thofe fufferings 
which he endured. Though, to the eye of fenfe, a Itate 
01 fufTering is apt to appear contemptible ; to thofe who 
juRly view the fufferings of Chrifl, there will be found far 
greater evidences of his power. A weak perfon is crufli- 
ed by a fmall weight ; but he who is able to endure un- 
common fufferings, fhov/s himfelf to be pofleffed of un- 
common flrength. Now, cur bleffed Lord and Saviour 
did, in his life, in this world, endure the greateft and 
mod dreadful fulTerings. His whole life was one conti- 
nued track of the heaviefl fufferings of which human na- 
ture is capable. Ifa. liii. 3. " He is defpifed and rejedled 
*' of men, a man of forro ws, and acc^uainted with grief: 



in his HumiUatton, 29 

** and we hid, as it were, our faces from him ; he was de- 
*' fpifed, and we efteemed him not !" This, my brethren, 
is a known fubjedl, yet it is the fubjed which we ought, 
by faith, to dwell upon this day ; and, indeed, the bene- 
fit and comfort of believers does not depend on things 
new and engaging to the fancy, but on the Spirit of God 
fetting home known truths with force and efficacy on the 
heart. Let me therefore beg your attention to two or 
three obvious remarks on the fufferings of Chrifl-. (i.) 
His aiili6lions began early, with his firft entrance into the 
v.'orld. No fooner did the man Chrift Jefus fee the light of 
this world, but prefently did affliQion falute him. Im- 
mediately after his contemptible birth, did Herod, that 
bloody tyrant, feek to deftroy him ; fo that we may allude 
to that expreffion, Rev. xii. 4. " —And the dragon flood 
*' before the woman which was ready to be delivered, to 
*' devour her child as foon as it was born." 

(2.) His afflidlions were conftant and perpetual, with* 
out interruption. It is recorded, not only by Chriftians, 
but even by heathens, who had heard of his life, that he 
v.'as never obferved to laugh, but frequently feen weeping; 
fo that he well accomplifhed that prophefy, " A man ot 
" forrows, and acquainted with grief." It is probable, 
from feveral palfages in the prophetical writings, that he 
was of a very tender and fenfible frame ; and therefore 
his afRiftions had a great and powerful effeft upon him. 
They fo deeply touched him, that his body was wafted, 
and his flrength melted and decayed, which is the ufual 
effect' of lading and continued forrow. Ifa. lii. 14. "As 
*' many were adonied at thee ; his vifage was fo marred 
" more than any man, and his form more than the fons of 
" men." Pf. xxii. 14, 15. " I am poured out like water, 
" and all my bones are out of joint : my heart is like wax, 
" it is melted in the midfl: of my bowels '• my llrength is 
" dried up like a potfherd ; and my tongue cleaveth to my 
" jaws : and thou haft brought me into the duft of death,'* 
£0 that we may alfo apply to him what Job fays of him - 
felf, Job. xvi, 8. " And thou haft filled me with wrinkles, 
" which is a witnefs againft me : and my leannefs rifing 
" up in me, beareth witnefs to my face.'* 



3® The Glory of Christ 

(3.) His afflictions were of the leverefl: kind. This I 
might fliow you, at large, from the hiftory, by particular- 
izing them all : I only mention four, poverty, reproach, 
temptation, and fympathy with others. He was fo poor, 
as to depend upon the charity of others for his fubftance ; 
and could fay, Luke ix. 58. " Foxes have holes, and birds 
" of the air have nefls, but the Son of man hath not where 

" to lay his head." Reproach was thrown upon him 

without meafure, and of the worft kind. He was called 
a glutton and a wine-bibber, a deceiver, a blafphemer, a 
Samaritan, and one that had a devil. Now, my brethren, 
all that know any thing of human nature, know that re- 
proach and contempt are perhaps the hardefl: to bear of 
any fufFerings to which we are expofed ; and the authors 
of thefe calumnies were fuch whofe circumflances render- 
ed them moil iharp and fevere ; for they were the Scribes 
and Pharifees, or the miniflers of thofe times, who ferved 
in the temple, as the whole hiftory fliows, and his own 
natural relations, as appears from Mark iii. 21. John vii. 
3, 4, 5. — Another remarkable affliction our Lord endured, 
was temptation, and that of the groffeft kind, as is plain 
from Matth. iv. 3, — 11. We are told, ''he was in all 
*' points tempted like as we are, yet without fin." What 
was the precife nature and influence of fuch temptations 
on him, we cannot know ; only it deferves notice on this 
particular, that whereas fome of the other affliftions he 
endured, were fuch as his perfedt purity could not but 
render more tolerable than otherwife they would have 
been, this on thg other hand, was fuch, that by how much 
the more pure and holy he was, fo much the more diftrefs 
would he feel on being ailaulted with the vile temptations 
of the devil, and having his horrid and abominable fug- 
geftions prefented to the fancy. 1 only further menti- 
on his fufferings, from fympathy with others. The moft 
excellent and worthy of the human kind are fuch as have 
the tendereft feelings of the fufFerings of others. Now, 
fince he was a perfect man, fince tendernefs feems to 
have been his ruling character, and his errand into the 
world a mefl'age of love flowing from infinite compaflion as 
its caufe, we mull fuppofc him liable to the fevereft fuf- 



in bis Humiliation. 31 

ferings of this kind. I know the hard-hearted, felfifli 
■world, will find it difficult to conceive this as a fource of 
fevere fuffering, efpecially fuch as have no regard to any- 
thing beyond this world. But this is not the cafe with 
all ; for I am certain there are fome whofe fharpefl pangs 
have been occafioned by the fufferings of others, efpecially 
when of a fpiritual kind. To form fome conception of 
this, let us imagine, v^^hat muil be the anguifli of a pious 
and affedlionate parent, on the death of a wicked child, 
who apparently trod in the path of the deftroyer, and of 
whom he hath the greateft reafon to fear, that he no fooner 
clofed his eyes on the light of this world, than he lifted 
them up in the torments of hell. Now, as compaffion 
was ftronger in none than in the man Chrifl Jefus, fo none 
could have fo clear a view of the mifery of thofe v/ho were 
the objects of it; and therefore, no doubt, this was a fource 
of the deepefl afflidlion to his foul. 

(4.) In the laft place, the affli6lions of our Lord not onlv 
continued but increafed, through his life, till they, at lall, 
iffued in an extraordinary conflift with the powers of 
darknefs, and an immediate fubjeftion to the wrath of a 
fm avenging God. Let it be obferved, that though I 
here mention particularly his enduring the wrath of God, 
as the laft and finifliing part of his fufferings, I do not 
mean to confine his fufferings from the hand of God to 
this feafon. Without all quellion, every part of his hu- 
miliation was fatisfaclory 10 the divine juftice, and con- 
tributed to appeafe the wrath of God. This cup was put 
to his mouth fo foon as he affumed our nature ; he conti- 
nued to drink of it daily, and was therefore juftly ftiled a 
man of forrows ; but, in the clofe of life, he came to drink 
off the very bitterell dregs of it. The waves of divine 
wrath went over him ; and he waded flill deeper and 
deeper in this troubled ocean, till he was well nigh over- 
whelmed. That Chrifl fuffered under the wrath of God 
in an eminent degree, is manifefi: both from the prophe- 
cies of the Old Teftament, and the relation given of the 
event in the New. Ifa. liii. 5 — 10. '' But he was wounded 
" for our tranfgreffions, he was^ bruifed for our iniquities : 
" the chaftifement of our peace was upon him, and with 



' 32 The Glory of Christ 

" his frripes we are healed. All we, like fheep, have 
^ gone aftray ; we have turned every one to his own way, 
*' and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
*' lie was opprefTed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened 
" not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the flaughter 
" and as a llieep before her lliearers is dumb, fo he open- 
" eth not his mouth. He was taken from prifon and from 
" judgment : and who fliall declare his generation ? for 
" he was cut off out of the land of the living : for the 
*' tranfgrellion of my people was he llricken. And he 
** made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in 
*' his death, becaufe he had done no violence, neither was 
'•' any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleafed the Lord to 
'* bruife him : he hath put him to grief : when thou llialt 
*' make his foul an offering for fin, he fliall fee his feed, he 
'•'• ihall prolong his days, and the pleafure of the Lord fhall 
*' profper in his hand." See the relation of his fufferings 
in the garden, Matih. xxvi. 38, 39. " Then faith he un- 
*' to them, my foul is exceeding forrowful, even unto 
** death : tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he 
" went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, 
••' faying, O, my Father ! if it be poffible, let this cup pafs 
*' from me ! neverthelefs, not as I will, but as thou wilt !'* 
Mark xiv. 33, 34, 35, 36. " And he taketh with him 
" Peter, and James, and John, and began to be fore ama- 
" zed, and to be very heavy, and faith unto them, my foul 
** is exceeding forrowful unto death ! tarry ye here, and 
'■'■ watch : and he went forward a little, and fell on the 
" ground, and prayed, that if it were poffible the hour 
** might pafs from him ! And he faid, Abba, Father, all 
** things are pofiible unto thee : take away this cup from 
**■ me ! neverthelefs, not what I will, but what thou wilt !" 
Luke xxii. 43, 44. " And there appeared an angel unto 
" him from heaven, flrengthenlng him ; and, being in 
" an agony, he prayed more earneflly ! and his fweat 
"•' was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the 
** ground !*' 

That the fame deep diftrefs of foul continued upon the 
crofs, is ])lain from this lamentable exclamation, Matth. 
:^xvii. 46. " And, about the ninth hour, Jefus cried with 



in bis Humiliation. 33 

" a loud voice, faying, Eli, Eli, lamarabachthani ! that 
" is to fay, my God, my God, why hafl thou forfakcn mel" 
In what manner, precifely, Chrifi: fuflcred the wrath of 
God on this occafion, it v/ould be too bold for us to de- 
termine ; whether it was only God's withdrawing from 
his human foul the comforts of iiis fenfible prefcnce — his 
being aflaulted and diftrelTcd with the infernal fuggeftions 
of the devil — his having a lively picture prefented to his 
imagination of the miferies of mankind here, and hereaf- 
ter, on account of fm, and fuffering with them by com- 
paffion and fympathy — or, finally, God's pofitively in- 
Aiding upon him, for a feafon, the fame punifliment in 
kind, at leail, if not in degree, that fliould have befallen 
thofe for whom he fuffered, and which the impenitent flill 
fliall for ever endure. This lafi: is by fome fuppofed im- 
poffible and contradidlory, as much of their mifery arifes 
from an evil confcience, from which he was abfolutely 
free ; and from defpair of mercy, which none will 'cifPirni 
that even God's defertion of him at that awful feafon did 
imply. It is probable, there was a mixture o'i all thefe 
particulars in his mingled cup. And, as to the lall, I fiictll 
only fay, that the pain and anguiih that follows any re- 
fledlion of a rational foul is only connected with it by the 
determination of God the Creator of our fpirits : therefore 
it was certainly in the power of the Almighty to inflifl a 
fenfe of pain in any kind, or in any degree, on the holy 
created foul of the man, Chrifi: Jefus. And I fee no oLher 
contrariety to the divine perfections, in infliding that very 
anguifh on the holy and innocent Saviour, than in fubfti- 
tuting him in our room at all, and bruifmg him for our 
iniquities. One thing is certain, that, in his life, and at 
his death, he fuffered what was a full reparation of the dif- 
honor done to God ; a fufEcienc vindication of the purity 
of his nature and the authority of his broken law, and what 
purchafed pardon and peace, fanilification, and eternal 
glory, to a whole world of eleft linners. 

And novi/, my brethren, from this view, did not our 
Redeemer travel in the greatnefs of his flrength ? Was it 
a fmall ftrength that could go through all this track of fuf- 
fering, without fuiking in the wav ? Yet this did he with 

Vol. II. E ' 



■34 T^^ Glory of Christ 

unfliaken condancy ; and, as his giving up his life was 
the lad part of it, fo he expired not, before he could fay, 
IT IS FINISHED ! Well, then, might the anfvver be given 
to the queflion in my text, IVho is this that cometh from 
Edom^ with dyed garments from Bozrah ? this that is 
glorious in his apparel, trai^cUing in the greatness of his 
strength ? in the words that follow, " I that fpeak in righte- 
*' oufnefs, mighty to fave," 

We proceed to obferve in the third place, that the glory 
of our Redeemer in his fuflPerineis, appears from the purity 
of his carnage, and the perfeftion of his patience under 
them. The former confideration fjiows his natural 
llrength, (fo to fpeak) and this his moral excellence. Af- 
fliction is the touchflone of virtue, tries its fmcerity, and 
illuftrates its beauty. Therefore we are told, Heb. ii. lo. 
" That it became him, for whom are all things, and by 
*' Vv^hom are all things, in bringing many fons unto glory, 
" to make the captain of their falvation perfedl through 
** fufFerings." Nothing could give a greater value to the 
facrifice he offered up, than the meeknefs and pa'dence 
with which he refigned that life which was not forl'eited, 
but voluntarily furrendered. I fa. liii. 7. " He was op. 
** prefTed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not 'ms 
'* mouth ■• he is brought as a lamb to the flaughter, and as 
*' a flieep before her fhearers is dunib, fo he opened not 
" his mouth." It is worth while to refle6l, on that conti- 
nued and invincible patience with which he went through 
the feveral fleps of his fufferings : that reproach and ca- 
lumny, that contempt and abufe, which he met with from 
thofe in whofe interelt he was fo deeply engaged, did not 
excite his indignation, but his compailion. Luke xix. 41. 
" And when he was come near, he beheld the city and 
" wept over it, faying, if thou hadft known, even thou, at 
*' leail in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy 
" peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes." When 
his ignorant difciples would have defended him from the 
aflaults of his enemies, he fays, John xviii. 11. — "The 
** cup which my Father hath given me, fliall I not drink 
*' it ?" When he entered upon the Lift and heavieft part of 
his fufferings, and began to feel their anguifli, he fays, 



in bis Hujiiiliation, 55 

John xli. 27, " Now is my foul troubled, and what (h.all 
»' I fay? Father, fave me from this hour ! but for this 
" caufe came I unto this hour." And in that dreadful 
feafon, when in the midfl: of his hardeft conflift, this is 
the form of his prayer, Matth. xxvi. 39. " O my Father ! 
" if it be poillble let this cup pafs from me : neverthelels, 
" not as I will, but as thou wilt." And a little after, 
verfe 42. '' O my Father ! if this cup may not pafs away 
" from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." Was 
not this divine glory fhining through the dark cloud that 
encompaffed him ? ' Was not this the patience of a God ? 
And, in fpite of the Ihame of the crofs on which he hung, 
did it not conftrain the centurion that attended his cruci- 
fixion to fay, " Certainly this was a righteous man I. Tru- 
" ly this was the Son of God !" 

In the laft place, The glory of a fuffering Saviour ap- 
pears from the end he had in view in his fufFerings, and 
which he fo eflPeaually obtained. This was none other 
than the glory of the great God, and the everlafling falva- 
tion of elea fmners. It was to do the will of his heavenly 
Father that he came into the world, and in doing this he 
delighted. Towards the clofe of his life he thus addreffes 
his Father, John xvii. 4, " I have glorified thee on the 
" earth ; I have finilhed the work which thou gaveft me 
" to do." He not only exhibited a fair and bright image 
of the divine glory in his perfonal charafter, while he 
dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, but in his work 
as Mediator, illuilrated all the perfedionsof God ; and m 
particular, glorified his juftice and magnified his mercy. 
If therefore a worthy end beautifies and ennobles any dif- 
ficult undertaking, this excellent purpofe mull give digni- 
ty to a crucified Saviour* 

But ought we not to add, the end fo clofely connetted 
with this, the falvation of periihing finners. Is not this 
a defign, of the beauty of which we ought to be particu- 
larly lenfible ? Had not our compafllonate Redeemer fiept 
in between us and the ftroke of divine juilice, we had 
for ever lain under the wrath of the Almighty. And, 
Oh, how unable had we been to bear that vengeance whica 
was fo heavy to him ! How glorious does he appear to 



36 The Glory of Christ 

the convinced finner in his red apparel! and what reafon 
has he to fay, " Worthy is the Lamb that was flain, to 
*' receive ])ovver, and riches, and wifdom, and ftrength, 
*' and honor, and glory, and bleffing !" 

I fhall now conclude this head with obferving, that I 
have all along confidered Chrill as God and man, in one 
perfon, our Mediator. I am fisniible, however, he could 
only fuller in his human nature, and indeed became man 
that he might be capable of fuffering. But it was the in- 
conceivable union of the human nature with the divine, 
from which he derived his glory, which gave him lirength 
for fufferi ng, and made his fufferings of value fufficient for 
the purchafe of our redemption. 

1 come, now, in the laft place, to make fome pra6:ical 
improvement of what hath been faid. And, 

ifl:, We are, here, called to admire and adore the un- 
fearchable wifdom, and unfpeakable love of God. There 
is a boundlefs depth in all the works and ways of God, 
and particularly here. Upon a flight view, we may be 
apt to take offence at the crols ; to hide our faces from 
him ; to be difgufted at an incarnate God, the Lord of glo- 
ry, defpi fed and trampled on by a proud Pharifee; the 
Creator of the ends of the earth (landing at the judgment- 
feat of a weak mortal ; and the Author of life giving up the 
ghofi:. But, upon a nearer infpedion, muft we not ad- 
iTiire the harmony of the divine attributes, in cur redemp- 
tion, upon this plan ? that thefe perfections which feem 
to limit each other in their exercife, fliould be, in con- 
junction, more illullrioufly difplayed : that God's infinite 
holinefs, and abhorrence of fm, nay, his impartial juftice, 
fliould be more difplayed in the pardon than the condem- 
nation of the fmner : that fo fignal a defeat ihould be given 
to the enemy of fouls, even when he feemcd exulting in 
the fuccefs of his defigns : that our Lord, by death, fliould 
deftroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil ; 
and, by being lifted up from the earth, as unworthy of a 
place on it, he iliould draw all men unto him, joining thus 
the extremities of glory and bafenefs, power and humilia- 
tion, and travelling in the greatnefs of his flrength. This, 
without doubt, fliall afford fubjccl for the adoring inquiry 



in bis Humiliation, 37 

of glorified {i\Int3to eternal ages; and 'we ought to bepn 
it here, fa^'ing with the PfahTuO:, Pfal. Ixxii. 17, " Hk 
" name (hall endure forever ; his name fliall be continued 
" as long as the fun ; and men fhall be blelfed in him ; all 
" nations fhall call him blefied!" 

2dly, Suffer me to improve the fubjeft, by fliewingth« 
guilt and danger of all who are not reconciled to God, 
efpecially thole, who, by continuing in unbelief and im- 
penitence, fhall die in that condition. There is nothing 
we can more juftly infer from what hath been faid, than 
the holinefs of God, and his deteflation of lin. Such is 
the hardnefs of heart of many fmners, and fuch their par- 
tiality to themfelves, that it is a matter of the utmoft diffi- 
culty to convince them either of their guilt or danger. 
But, if you have any belief in the truths of the gofpel, if 
you believe the certainty of that tranfa£lion which we are 
this day to commemorate, with what fear and trembling 
ought you to refiedl upon the juftice of God? If he punifiied 
fin fb feverely in the perfon of his own Son, how Ihall he 
punifh it in the perfons of the finally impenitent ? If a 
temporary fuffering of the v/rath of God was {o terrible to 
him, who travelled through it in the greatnefs of his 
ftrength, what fhall it be to thofe who fliall lie under it to 
eternity, without the leaft ray of hope or confolatlon ? 
what fliall it be to thofe who fliall have nothing to fupport 
them in their unchangeable abode, but an accuiing con- 
fcience, and defpair of mercy I 

I cannot help obferving, hear it, O finners, and trem- 
ble ! that a defpifed gofpel fhall be an aggravation of the 
guilt, and an addition to the mifery, of all to whom it was 
offered, Heb. ii. 2. " For, if the word fpoken by angels 
"was fledfaft, and every tranfgrefTion and difobedience 
'•' received a juft recompence of reward, how lliall we ef- 
" cape if v^e negleft fo great falvation ?" — Heb. x. 28, 29. 
*' He that defpifed Mofes' law died, without mercy, un- 
" der two or three witnefs •• of how much forer punifh- 
•" ment, fuppofe ye, fhall he be thought worthy, who hath 
" trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted 
" the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was fan6tified« 
*' an unholy thing, and hath done defpite unto the Spirit 



38 The Glory of Christ 

" of grace ?" The feverity of the punifhment of finners 
rejefting the gofpel, fhall bear a jufl proportion to the love 
ajQd mercy of God manifefted in that difpenfation. If 
thefe are jufily called unfpeakably great, the other muft be 
inconceivably dreadful. Every drop of that blood, which 
was fpilt in behalf of finners, fliall be as oil to the flames 
that confume the impenitent, and make them burn with 
greater fiercenefs, to all the ages, of eternity. Remember, 
I befeech you, that our Saviour fiiall continue in the cha- 
racter of adniiniftrator of the covenant of grace, till the 
final doom of fmners be ordained. The fame perfon, 
whofe foul was made an offering for fin, and who groaned 
on Calvarj/, fliall, one day, come in his own and in his 
Father's glory, attended with his angels, as the minifiers 
of his JLiilice ; then "every eye fliall fee him, and thofe 
'*■ alfo that pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth fhall 
" wail becaufe of him." Then how fliall his enemies 
Hand before him, when thofe who came to apprehend him 
fell to the ground, at his word, even in his humiliation ? 
Thofe who oblVmately refufe to be the trophies of his 
grace, fhall then be the monuments of his vengeance. It 
k very remarkable, that as the nation of the Jews w-ere a 
people uncommonly favored of God, particularly by the 
enjoyment of the perfonal minillry of Chrifl, and hearing 
the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth ; fo, 
when they had filled up the meafure of their iniquities, by 
rejecTting him, the judgment that fell upon them was the 
moll fignal, and terrible, and lafling, that ever was infli(5\- 
cd on any people. In this they were an example of the 
fate of a whole world of finners ; and, indeed, the de- 
llruftion of Jerufalem is defcribed in fuch terms as do na- 
turally fuggeft to us the final judgment of the world, and 
teach us what to expeft, " when the Lord Jefus fhall be 
" revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance 
*' on them that know not God, and that obey not the gof- 
" pel of our Lord Jefus Chrill." 

*' He that hath ears to hear, let hini hear." Now the 
Saviour is in the poihire of a humble fupplicant, fianding 
at tlie door of many hard hearts, and knocking, and afk- 
ing admiiTion. Now does he earnefily befeech you, by 



in his Humiliation. 39 

his mercies, to be reconciled to God ; but then fhall he 
put on the frowns and terrors of a judge ; and how fliall 
they be able to lift up their eyes towards him, who now 
trample upon his love ? See a reprefentation of this mat- 
ter. Rev. vi. 14, 15, 16, 17. " And the heaven departed 
" a's a fcroll when it is rolled together; and every moun- 
*' tain and ifland were moved out of their places : and the 
" kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, 
'' and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every 
'* bondman, and every freeman, hid themfelves in the 
" dens, and in the rocks of the mountains ; and faid to 
*' the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from 
*' the face of him that fitteth on the throne, and from the 
" wrath of the Lamb ; for the great day of his wrath is 
" come ; and who fliall be able to (land 1'* It is remark-^ 
able, that the wrath here fpoken of, is called the -ivralb of 
the Lamb. Strange expreffion indeed ! but flrongly fig- 
nifying, that his prefent meeknefs, and patience, and fui- 
fering lliall inflame and exafjierate his future vengeance. 
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, I would befeech 
every fuiner in this affembly, to confider the things that 
belong to his psace — that the fame ftrength and power of 
our Redeemer, that was evident in his fuffering in our 
{lead, that is evident in v/orking out the falvation of his 
own people, fliall alfo be evident in the judgment of his 
enemies. Pfal. ii. 11, 12. " Serve the Lord with fear, 
" and rejoice with trembling. Kifs the Son, left he be 
" angry, and ye periih from the way, when his wrath is 
" kindled but a little : Blefled are all they that put their 
*' trufl in him." 

In the 3d place, I would improve this fubjecl, for the 
encouragement of fmners to return to God through Chrifi. 
It was for this very end, that God laid help upon One that 
is mighty, and raifed up a chofen One out of the people. 
Is there, then, among you, an awakened hnner, who 
trembles at the profpedt of Divine wrath, upon whofe 
heart God, in his mercy, has carried home a convidion of 
his loft ftate, and who is crying out, What shall I do to 
be sauced! Behold, here, the peace-fpeaking blood of the 
Lamb of God ! Behold, here, not only your ranfom paid, 



40 T^hc Glory of Christ 

and juftice fully fatisfied, but a pov/erful, an Almighty Sa- 
viour, able to fave to the uttermoll, all that come unto God 
by him ! He has ojone through his work, in the greatnefs 
of his firength ! He hath foiled your fpiritual enemies, and 
made a flievv of them openly, triumphing over them in his 
crofs ! My brethren there is the greater need earneftly to 
intrcat your attention to this, that a Ilothful defpondency, 
and diffidence of fuccefs, is what keeps m.any finners 
from a hearty return to God. There is more of this in 
the hearts of many than they themfelves are aware of: I 
do not mean defpair of mercy alone, but defpair of reco- 
very from a Itate of fin, of deliverance from the bondage 
of corruption, and attaining to the difpofition and charac- 
ter of God's children. Are there not many of you, my 
Iwethren, who, though you, in fome meafure, fee the ex- 
cellence and happinefs of a Iiate of favor with God and 
holy conformity to his will, yet finding how flrongly you 
are wedded to the world and its finful enjoyments, and 
knowing, by experience, the unfuccefsfulnefs of former re- 
folutions taken in your own llrength, you have no hope 
of fuccefs, and fo, in a fuUen obllinacy, refufe to attempt 
what you think you cannot accomplilli ? Do you not fee, 
from what hath been faid, both your former error, and 
what is now the proper cure ? You can do nothing of 
yourfclves ; but through Chrilt llrengthening you, you 
may do all things. He is an Almighty Saviour : he is 
ilronger than the ftrong man v/ho detLuns you in bondage: 
he is able to knock off the firongefl fetters, and let the 
prifoners go free. Wherefore, 1 befeech you, my dear 
friends, as you value your everlailing intcrefl, that you do 
not fit fiill and perifli, but arife and be doing, and the Lord 
will be with you. 

In the 4th place, the fame inflruclion, with little dif- 
ference, may be given to the people of God. As felf- 
rlghteoufnefs and felf-confidence, are the ruling charac- 
ters of the unregenerate : fo they are difeafes never en- 
tirely cured in this world, even in the belt, and lamenta- 
bly prevalent in many of God's own chiklren. As their 
v.ork is to obiain a vid:ory over their corruptions and grow 
in the cxercife of every Chriilian grace, they often at- 



in bis HiimHiatlon. 41 

tempt both thefe, too much in their own flrength. As the 
natural and unavoidable confequence of this, they meet 
with frequent difappointments ; thefe make them ready to 
fit down in flolhful careleffnefs, and decline the ilruggle 
to which they find themfelves unequal, nay, too often no: 
without fecret murmurings and complaints againfl God, 
as a hard mafter, requiring bricks, and giving no ftraw ; 
inflead of concluding, from their unfuccefsfulnefs, that 
they mud have taken their meauires wrong, they conchids 
the attempt itfelf to be vain, and the work impradicable. 
But, my brethren, here is a truth, which not only tlie 
word of God every where teaches, but which almoll every 
part of his Providence towards us is intended to ratily, 
that in us dwelkt/j no good thing ; that v/e can hardly 
liave too low an opinion of our own worth, or our own 
Itrength ; but, at tiie fame time, that God is able and 
willing to perfedl llrength in our weaknefs. He is able to 
uphold the weakeft felf-denied Chriftian in the mid ft of 
the moft dangerous temptations, though he often fuffcrs the 
felf-fufficient to fall before his enemies. V/herefore, my 
dear friends, believe in the Almighty power of your FCc- 
deemer ; and I hope you will know to your experience, 
that " he giveth power to the faint, and to them that have 
" no might, he increafeth flrength." 

In the 5th place, fuffer me to improve this fubjeft, for 
the comfort and refrefliment of every difconfolate ?md 
mourning foul. As weary and heavy laden fmners are 
the perfons to whom the call of the gofpel is addrefied, fo 
furely it alfo fpeaks peace to weary and heavy laden faints. 
This world was plainly defigned as a place of trial and 
difcipline, and not of complete refl: to the children of God. 
It often pleafes him, in his fovereign and holy providence, 
not only to afflid them with outward trials, but to hide 
his face from them, and vifit them with diilrefs oi" foul. 
May not all fuch fee, from what has been faid, that they 
are but conformed to their Redeemer ; that they are but 
treading in the path which he hath fandified : and is it 
not " enough for the difciple, that he be ;.s his Mailer, 
" and for the fervant, that he be as his Lord r" It would 
be a great point gained, if we could but be convinced, that 

Vol. II. F 



42 The Glory of Christ, ^c: 

affliftions are what we mufl look for, and fo not hiiftily 
and rafhly conclude, that he is " rebuking us in his wralh, 
" and chaliening us in his hot difpleafure." Is it not com- 
fortable, and is it not true, that Chrifl: hath taken away 
the fting of death, and of every fufFering from his people, 
and left nothing but that correi^ion which is healthful and 
necelTary ? Above all, ought you not to look to the power 
of your Redeemer, and his almighty flrength, asfufficient 
to fupport you now, and at laft work your complete deli- 
verance ? Banifli every thought that tends to reprefent 
your cafe, either as Angular to abate your fenfe of the di- 
vine goodnefs, or as defperate to weaken your hands in 
feeking relief; and make your requefl: to God, " with 
" ftrong crying and tears, that he, as the God of hope, 
" would fill you with all joy, and peace in believing, that 
" you may rejoice with joy unfpeakable, and full of glory." 
6th. I Ihall now conclude all, with an earneft invitati- 
on to all intending communicants, to come to the table of 
the Lord, and, b)^ faith, to feed upon the rich entertain- 
ment that is there provided for them. See here the price 
of your redemption ; the evidence and fecurity of your 
pardon ; the feal of God's love to you ; and the certain 
pledge of every neceifary blefling. " It pleafed the Fa- 
" ther, that in Chrift Ihould all fulnefs dwell, and of his 
" fulnefs you may all receive, and grace for grace.'' His 
body, broken, is the bread of life, that mufl nourifh your 
fouls to their everlafting flate. His blood, fhed, is a never 
failing cordial to a broken fpirit, and a mofl excellent re- 
frefhment to the foul that pants in a parched wildernefs. 
May the Lord himfelf meet with us and blefs us, vifit us 
with his gracious prefence, and make us joyful in his houfe 
of prayer. Amen, 



[ 43 ] 



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•000 oooo COOO =000 £C0O oooo oooo CCCO coco ^^mOO oooo POO^ * oooo oooo CCCO oooo COOO C003 000« oooo oooo oooo CCQO COOO ooco 



THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. 



SERMON 19, 



Hebrews iii. 13. 

But exhort one another daihj, xvhile it is called to day ; lest 
any of yoii be hardened through the deceitfulness of Sin. 

WE fee many mj'fterious things in the frame of na- 
ture, and the courfe of Providence. But nothing 
can be more myfterious and wonderful than what we may 
often fee in the flate of our own hearts. When there is 
no prefent foliciting temptation, and when we confider^ 
in a cool and deliberate manner, the confeqaences of vice 
and wickednefs, even barely from the didlates of natural 
confcience, it feems furprizing, that, in any inflance, v/e 
ihould yield to it ; that we fhould be induced to break the 
peace of our own minds, and provoke the vengeance of 
an Almighty Judge ; nay, to do fo for a trifling, momen- 
tary, and uncertain fatisla6:ion. But if it be unreafona- 
ble to offend God at all, and to take but a few fieps in the 
paths of fin, how much more above meafure aftonifhing is 
it, that men fliould adhere to their former millakes, and 
fhould not open their eyes after repeated admonitions of 
their danger, and daily exj)erience of their own folly ! 

I bel'eve every body will be fenfible, that many finners, 
even fetting afide the confideration of fome of the mofl im.. 



44 7'Z'^ Deceitfulness of Shu 

portant religious truths, a£l in a manner fo diredlly oppo- 
fite to their own prefent intereft as is not to be accounted 
for, without fuppoiing them u.ider an amazing degree of 
blindnefs and infatuation. This is to be refolved into the 
deceitfulness of sln^ a circumftance on this great fubje6t 
well worthy of our mod ferious attention. 

In entering on the deceitfuhiefs of fin, let us refle6l a 
iJLtle on the meaning of the expreflion. Who is it that is 
deceived ; It is the fmner himfelf. Does he need to be 
deceived ? Is there not in us all a flrong enough direft 
inclination to tliat which is evil, ready to burfl: afunder 
ever}' reRraining tie ? There is fo; and yet there is more 
in our danger than merely a propenfity to fin. There is 
alfoa deceit and impofition which over-reaches us, and in- 
fnares us into the commifTion of what, but for that mif- 
take, we would ha\ e avoided or abhorred. There is very 
frequent mention made of this in fcripture ; many cau- 
tions againft being deceived ; and indeed all fin is repre- 
fented as error and delufion, in which a deceived iieart 
hath turned us afide. 

Again, if the finner is deceived, who is it, or what is 
it that deceives him ? Here v/e muft oblerve, that when 
we fpeak of fin's being deceitful, it is not fo much any 
thing Vv'ithout us, taking the advantage of our weaknefs, 
but it is the effect and evidence of the llrength of corrupti- 
on within us, which makes us fee things in a wrong light 
and draw unjull and pernicious confequences from them. 
Let us always remember, that the whole frame of nature, 
although it be the fcene of temptation, and even the fuel 
of concupifcence, is faultlefs in itfelf ; nay it prefents us 
every v/here with lelfons of piety and obedience to its Au- 
thor. The mifiake here urifcs wholly from ourfelves. 
There is a remarkable difference between the deceit! ulnefs 
of fin and deceit of any otlier kind ; in worldly tranfac- 
tions, the perfon deceived is never fuppofed unfaith- 
ful to himfelf, but is impofed on by the luj)erior art and 
cunning of the deceiver. But it is otherwife in fpiritual 
matters, where the deceitfulneis of fin is but another form 
of fpeech for the corruption and treachery of our own 
i, carts. It is true, in Ibme infiances of delufion, there is 



The Dece'itfulncss of S'ln. 45 

an a£i:iv'ity of outv/ard agents, if I may fpeak fo, the devil 
and wicked men, who ufe no little induftry to feduce 
others, and lie in wait to deceive ; but this, if I miftakc 
not, does not belong properly to the deceitfulnefs of fin, 
which lies in the difpofition ofour own hearts, and is wi::it 
lays us open to their fnares- 

I fliall only further obferve, by way of intrcdudion, 
that this fubjeft is equally applicable to good men and bad. 
Both ought to dread, and both ought to be warned of the 
deceitfulnefs of fm ; it betrays good men into diftrefs, as 
well as bad men into ruin. 

In further difcourfmg on this fubjei5l, I fhall, 

I. Endeavor to open a little the chief branches of the 
deceitfulnsss of sin. 

II. Confider the duty founded upon it, ol exhorting one 
another daily. 

III. JMake fome practical improvement of the fuhjeft. 

Firft, then, I Ihall endeavor to open a little the chief 
branches of the deceitfulnefs of Hn : And I think the de- 
ceitfulnefs of fin may be divided into thefe three general 
branches, i. its difguifing itfelf, and wholly concealing 
its nature. 2. Its forming excufes for itfelf, and thereby 
extenuating its guilt. 3. Its infinuating itfelf by degrees, 
and leading men on from the voluntary commiiTion of fome 
fins to the neceffity of committing more. 

ift, then, The deceitfulnefs of fin appears from its dif- 
guifing itfelf, and wholly concealing its nature. Though 
the great lines of the law of God are written upon the con- 
fcience in fo flrong and legible charaQers, that it is diffi- 
cult wholly to efface them, yet it is plain that men have 
often brought this about to a furprifing degree. The 
Pfalmifc David, fenfible how often fin is concealed from 
our own view, exclaims, Pfal. xix. 12, " Who can under- 
*' fiand his errors ! cleanfe thou me from fecret faults." 
What ingenious reafonings do men often ufe with their 
own minds to prove the lawfulnefs of what inclination 
leads them to, either with refpecl to profit or pleafure ? 
When the heart pleads the caufe, the underfianding is a 
.very favorable judge. Every one may find a great nuni- 



46 "The Dcceitfulness of Sin, 

ber of examples of this in his own experience, and may 
daily fee the unhappy efFedls of it in others- 

For the better illuftrating of this truth, that fin is often 
wholly concealed, even from the man in whom it dwells, 
be pleafed to attend to the following obfervations : 

(i.) Sometimes it fliows itfelf in the prevalence of loofe 
principles. I am forry to {ziy, that we live in an age in 
•which infidelity of the grodeft kind, is fpreading its poifon 
among all ranks and degrees of men. But why is it fo 
readily entertained ? Becaufe it either fets men at liberty 
from the ties of confcience and a future reckoning al- 
together ; or greatly narrows the extent, and weakens the 
obligations of the law of God. How fweet and palatable 
to the corrupt mind is every thing that removes reftraints, 
and fuffers the finner to walk in the ways of his own heart, 
and the fight of his own eyes ? It is not reafon, but incli- 
nation, that makes profelytes to thefe deltrudlive doc- 
trines. The truth is, would you reafon impartially, you 
would conclude that the principles mull be falfe which 
tend to fet men at eafe in their crimes. When therefore 
the arguments in their favor are fo eafily admitted, wc 
have jull ground to affirm that it is owing to the deceitful- 
nefs of fm. 

(2.) If we proceed from principles to pra£tice, and from 
generals to particulars, we fliall find how fin difguifes it- 
leif, and hides its deformity from our view. It never ap- 
pears in its own proper and genuine drefs, nor loves to be 
called by its proper name. Thus excefs and intemperance 
is called, and unhappily thought by many, a fecial difpofi- 
tion and good fellowfhip. Pride and unchriftian refent- 
ment, is called honor, fpirit, and dignity of mind. Vain 
pomp, luxury, and extravagance, are ftyled talle, ele- 
gance, and refinement. Sordid avarice and love of mo- 
ney, calls itfelf prudence, frugality, and good manage- 
ment. Levity, folly, and even obfcenity, is often called 
innocent liberty, chearfulnefs, and good humor. So 
great is the deceit, and fo fecure does the fin lie under its 
difguife, that a miniller may preach with the utmofl: fe- 
vcrity againil thefe fevcral vices, and the guilty peribns 



The Decettfulness of Sin. 47 

hear with patience or approbation, and never once think 
of applying it to themfelves. 

This deceit difcovers itfelf alfo by its counterpart. How 
common is it to fligmatize and difparage true piety and 
goodnefs by the moft opprobrious titles. Tendernefs of 
confcience, is, by many, reproached under the charadef 
of precifenefs and narrownels of mind. Zeal againft fin, 
and fidelity to the fouls of others, is called fournefs, mo- 
rofenefs, and ill nature. There was never yet a faithful 
reprover, from Lot in Sodom to the prefent day, but he 
fuffered under the reproach and flander of thofe who would 
not be reclaimed. I might eafily run over many more 
inftances in both thefe kinds ; for, to fay the truth, the 
whole flrain of fafliionable converfation is often nothing 
elfe but an illufion put upon the mind, that it may lofe 
its horror of vice ; and it is greatly to be lamented, that 
this is done with fo much fuccefs. In many cafes, young 
perfons efpecially, are infpired with a hatred and averfiou 
at true and undefiled religion, and that under the moit 
plaufible pretences. Many, my brethren, there are who 
are far from thinking it themfelves, and yet fall under the 
denunciation of the Prophet Ifaiah, v. 20 — 24. " Wo un- 
*' to them that call evil good, and good evil ; that put 
" darknefs for light, and light for darknefs ; that put bitter 
*' for fweet, and fweet for bitter. Wo unto them that are 
" wife in their own eyes, and prudent in their own fight. 
" AVo unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men 
" of ftrength to mingle ftrong drink : which juftify the 
" wicked for reward, and take away ths righteoufnefu of 
*' the righteous from him. Therefore, as the fire devour- 
" eth the Hubble, and the flame confumeth the chaff, lb 
" their root lliall be as rottennefs, and their blofibm lliall go 
" up as dull ; becaufe they have cad away the law of the 
" Lord of Hofts, and defpifed the word of the Holy One 
" of Ifrael.*' 

(3.) But the higheft degree of this branch of the deceit- 
fulnefs of fin, is, when it not only puts on a decent and 
lawful appearance, but alTumes the garb of eminent piety 
and worth. There is nothing impofhble in this. As 
Satan fometimes transforms himfelf into an angel of light, 



48 7he Ticceitfulness of Sin. 

fo fome of the greatell fins will take the name, and arro- 
gate the honor, of the mod diftinguiflied virtues. I do 
not here mem the cafe of grofs hypocrify ; that is foreign 
from the prefent fubjedt. Hypocrites know their own in- 
fincerity well enough, and only put on an appearance of 
piety to deceive others. But even when there is no 
known or deliberate hypocrify, fin may infmuate itfelf un- 
der the appearance of the moll important duties. Men 
may indulge the mofl hateful paffions with the greater li- 
berty, when they think they are doing what is acceptable 
to God. 

The crofs of our blefled Mailer is full fraught with in- 
ftrudion of every kind. It gives us, particularly, a llriking 
example of what I have now faid. His oiemies, who per- 
fecuted him with unrelenting malice through his life, and 
at laft prevailed to have him hanged on a tree, did it, fome, 
no doubt, from a pretended, but many cf them from a 
inifguided zeal for religion. He was crucified as a de- 
ceiver and a blafphemer ; and that in this they were mif- 
led, appears from the language of his prayer for them on 
the crois, '" Father, forgive them ; for they know not what 
" they do.'* What a conviction Hiould this give us of 
the deceitfulnefs of fm ; that the greatell fin that ever was 
committed on earth, was yet confidered, by the guilty, as 
a duty ! 

Let us alfo confider our Saviour's remarkable predic- 
tion on the fame fubjedl, and how often it hath been ful- 
filled : John xvi. 2. "• They fhall put you outofthefyna- 
'' gogues ! yea, the time cometh, that whofoever killeth 
" you, will think that he doth God fervice." My bre- 
thren, think a little on the many dreadful perfecutions 
which good men have endured for confcience fake ; the 
terrible tortures they have been expofcd to, in which the 
utmoft: invention of the human mind has been employed 
to aggravate their dillrefs. Think, in particular, of the 
horrible tribunal of inquifition, which is, to this day, in 
full authority in countries not very diflant ; and does it 
not infpire you with the highed deteilation of the bloody 
tyrants ? But there is another rcfledion not fo frequently 
made, yet at leall equally proper. How great is the deceit- 



l^he Deceit/illness of Sin, 49 

fulnefs of fin in the human heart, tliat can make men fup- 
pofe that fuch atrocious crimes are acceptable to God ? 
Yet they certainly do fo. Neither would it be poQlble 
for them, fo entirely to divell themfelves of every fenti- 
ment of humanity, if they were not inflamed by tlie rage 
of bigotry and f.ilfe zeal. Let not any imagine, that thefe 
are dreadful crimes, but which they are not in the leall 
danger of. We ought to maintain the greateft watchful- 
nefs and jealoufy over our own fpirits. It may very eafi- 
ly, and does very frequently happen, that an aj)parent zeal 
for religion is more than half compofed of pride, malice, 
envy, or revenge. 

Nor is this all. In the above cafes, by the treachery 
of the human heart, fins are changed into duties, and, in 
many others, every day, duties are changed into iins, by 
the perverfion of the principle from which they ought to 
flow. Many a fober, temperate perfon, ovveth his regu- 
larity more to a lull of gold, than to any fenfe of duty 
and obedience to God. The delire of praife, or the fear of 
reproach, is many times a reftraint more powerful than 
the apprehenfion of eternal judgment. Men may put one 
duty alio in the place of another, and by that means con- 
vert it into fin. Nay, with regard to all our duties, v/e 
may be tempted to place that trull and dependance on 
them which is only due to our Redeemer's perfefl; righte- 
oufnefs ; and, inflead of adis of obedience, make them 
idols of jealoufy before God. 

How great then the deceitfulnefs of fin, which is capa- 
ble of putting on fo many and fuch artful difguifes, and 
even to counterfeit true piety, which fiands in the moft 
immediate and dired oppofition to it ! There are more 
ways than I can poffibly enumerate, by which men de- 
ceive themfelves, and become obfiinate and incorrigible in 
what is evil, by mifiaking it for what is good. Juftly does 
the Apollle, in this paffage, warn Chriftians againft be- 
ing hardened ; for if fin can hardly be retrained, even by 
the moft conftant vigilance, and the mcfl: fi;eady refifiancc, 
what progrefs will it not make, what ftrength muft it not 
acquire, when it is approved and cherifiied, nay, Vvhen it 
Vol. !L G 



50 The Deceit fulness of Situ 

is profecuted with all that care and attention which ought 
to have been employed for its utter deftrudlion ? 

2. In the fecond place, The deceitfulnefs of fin, ap- 
pears from its forming excufes for itfelf, and thereby ex- 
tenuating its guilt. That it is natural for finners to form 
excufes for themfelves, and endeavor to extenuate their 
guilt, daily experience is a fufficient proof. Nay, it is 
ufual to obferve, how able, and ingenious, perfons, other- 
wife of no great capacity, are in this art ; even children 
difcover the greatell quicknefs and facility in it, and are 
no fooner challenged for any thing that is amifs, than thejr 
are ready to produce an apology. The dii'pofitlon, in- 
deed, feems to be hereditary, and to have been handed 
down to us from the firfi; parents of the human race. On 
their being challenged for their difobedience, each of them 
confeifes the faft, but immediately adds an excufe, Gen. 
iii. II, 12, 13. " Haft thou eaten of the tree, whereof 
" I commanded thee, that thou flionldefi; not eat ; And 
" the man faid, the woman whom thou gavefl to be with 
" me, file gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the 
*' Lord God faid unto the w^oman, what is this that thou 
" hall done ? And the woman faid, the ferpent beguiled 
" me, and I did eat." You will eafily be fenfible, that it is 
impoflible for me to enumerate the feveral excufes, or dif- 
tin6l alleviating circumllances, that may be pleaded in fa- 
vor of particular fms, becaufe thefe are infinitely various. 
1 intend, therefore, only to mention fome of the chief 
confidcrations that are offered by pretended reafoners, or 
which have a fecret influence upon the mind of the fin- 
ner ; and which leffsn the imprelFion of the evil of fin in 
general. 

(i.) One excufe, which, however weak, has no fmall 
influence in fetting men's minds at eafe in the commif- 
fion of fin, is no other than the commonnefs of it ; and 
that there are multitudes of others in the like condition; 
It is wonderful to think what boldnefs finners often de- 
tive from this circumllance, and how hard it is to perfuade 
tjiem of tbe danger of what is common and generally prac- 
tifed. Even good men are often canied away with pre- 
vailing and epidemical fins. We may take the illuilra- 



The Deceitf Illness of Sin, 51 

■ tion of this from any particular fin. How ready are men 
to think, and even to fpeak, in the following manner ? 
If this be a fiA, I am fure I am not fmgular in it ; there 
are many others guilty as well as T. They feem to look 
upon the practice of others, as a fort of fupport and juflifi- 
cation of their own condudl. 

But, my brethren, I befeech you to confider how delufive 
and dangerous thefe thoughts are to your immortal fouls. 
If any credit is to be given to the fcripture reprefentation, 
the human race, in general, is under guilt : and therefore, 
the commonnefs, nay, the univerfality of any practice, is 
not fufficient to give it a fandtion, as lawful and fafe. 
Will the law of an unchangeable, God be altered or aba- 
ted in favor of his apoftate creatures, becaufe of their num- 
ber ? Is there fuch a number of offenders, as to be able to 
make head againfl their almighty Creator ? Sometimes, 
indeed, the tranfgreffors of human laws are fo numerous, 
as to be formidable to their very judges ; but no fuch thing 
can take place here. Or will it, in truth, be any confola- 
tion to the fufferers in hell, that they have fociety in their 
torment ? Were a great number of malefactors to be exe- 
cuted together, would this alleviate the punifriment to any 
one of them ? I apprehend it would rather increafe it, 
fmce they would, in a good meafure, feel each others fuf- 
ferings ; as it certainly would add greater horror to the 
fight. Wherefore, my dear brethren, I befeech every one 
of you, to confider the neceffity of reconciliation and peace 
with God, and that it is not lefs important and neceflary 
to you, on account of the multitudes you fee around you 
fo fait afleep in fecurity and floth. 

(2.) Another excufe that men often make for their fins, 
is, that they are comparatively fmall. When they fee, 
think, or hear of the monflrous and atrocious crimes of 
others, they are ready to blefs themfelves in their fecurity, 
and to reckon upon their lefs degree of guilt, as a fpecies 
of innocence. Believe it, my brethren, I hav^e found, 
with concern, perfons in a dangerous ficknefs, or the prof- 
pe£l of death, taking comfort to themfelves, and mention- 
ing, with much fatisfaftion, that they were not fo bad as 
fome others ; that they had never committed this or the 



52 The Deceitftilness of Sin. 

other heinous crime; that they had never done as this or 
the other defperate profiigate had done, with whom they 
were acquainted. To al! iuch we may juRly apply the 
words of the apoille, 2 Cor. x. 12. " For we dare not make 
" ourfclves of the nuniber, or compare ourfelves with fome 
*' that commend themfelves : but they, meafuring them- 
*' felves by themfelves, and comparing themfelves amongft 
" themlelves, are not wife." 

Tnere is a wonderful propenfity in the proud fpirit of 
man, to gratify itfelf by comparifon with others. Com- 
parifon, indeed, is the very fuel of pride ; for of what are 
we proud, but of fomething in which it is fuppofed we ex- 
cel. Is there any thing more common in converfation, 
when any inftance of the fin or folly of others is narrated, 
than for the hearers, every one, to take the benefit of it 
to himfelf, and to fay, I am fure I fliould never have done 
fo and fo, had I been in his cafe. Scarce any man finds 
fault with another for his condu6t in his fiation, without 
blazoning and difplaying his own real or imagined excel- 
lence. I do not fay, that good men are wholly free from 
this fault; yet, as the principles of fin and grace are di- 
redely oppofite, in general, the fame views that make a 
bad man proud, tend to make a good man humble. — 
The grofs fins of others, which incline carelefs perfons to 
glory, that they are free from the charge, often tend to 
clifcover to the Chrifiian the finfulnefs of his nature, 
which is capable of fuch impiety. They fill him with 
humble adoration, and thankfulnefs to that gracious God, 
who only maj^eth him to differ. He knows, that had he 
been left to himfelf, he might have exceeded the mod 
abandoned profligate within the compafsof his knowledge. 

Let me therefore, my brethren, caution you and myfelf 
againrt all excufec drawn from comparifon in any form. 
For, not to mention how ready we are to mifiake and be 
partial to ourfelves in making the comparifon : not to 
mention that, though w« were ever fo impartial, as the 
hearts of others are not open to us, nor tlie motives of 
their condud, we cannot make it with certainty : 1 only 
infill, that all comparifons, whether they be juft or unjuft, 
are unfpeakably pernicicas. it is not your being better 



The Deceitfuhiess of Sin. 53 

orworfethan otliers, that will jufiify you before God, or 
be the matter of inquiry at the laft day. You will not 
then be aiked, whether you were as profane a biafphenier 
as fuch a perfon ? as great a liar as another ? as great a 
drunkard as another l as great a whoremoriger as another ? 
No. You mud be weighed in the balance of the fanQua- 
ry, and all that are there found wanting, fhall be call in- 
to the lake of fire. You may leave it to a wife and riglite- 
ous God to proportion the feverily of his judgment to the 
atrocioufnefs of the fmner's guilt. " But except a man 
*' be born again, he cannot fee the kingdom of God." A 
man niay be drowned in five fathom water, as well as in 
five thoufand ; and, therefore, let none fooliflily tiatter 
themfelves with the hope of fecurity, even though they 
really fee many (to fpeak in the language of fcripturc:) 
" tenfold more the children of hell than themfelves." 

(3.) Sinners are apt to look for another fource ofex- 
cufes for their fins in themfelves. They are firongly in- 
clined to make a merit of any actions they have done that 
are materially good, and think that fome indulgence is 
due to their faults and mifcarriages on that account. 
They fet their good works and their faults, as it were, in 
oppofite columns, as if they intended, in that manner, 
to firike the balance. There is very much of this difpo- 
fition in the natural unenlightened mind. We find ma- 
ny fentiments fimilar to this in the heathen world. ' Eve- 

* ry man,' fays a certain author, * has fome virtues, and 

* fome faults ; he that hath more virtues than faults, is a 

* good man; and he that hath more faults than virtues, is a 

* bad man.' I am fenfible there might be fome jufiice in 
fuch a comparifon, after a perfon has really been brought 
to the fervice of God upon genuine principles. It might 
then ferve to fnew whether God or the world hath moil 
of our prevailing love, and our habitual fervice. But this 
rule is highly pernicious, when an ignorant or vicious 
man endeavors to apply it : for,.firfi: of all, thefe very 
a£lions, which they fuppofe to be good, not flov/ing from 
a real principle of obedience to God, are falfely reckoned 
virtues in them. O that felf-righteous perfons would but 
faithfully examine the motives from whicii many of their 



54 ^"'^^ Deceltfulness of Sin, 

boalled virtues flow ! The more they knew of themfelves, 
and their own real character, the lefs would they be in- 
clined to glory in its excellence and perfedlion. It is 
certain, that even in the world, the more a man prefumes 
to commend himfelf, the lefs others are difpofed to efleem 
him; and is it not flrange, that the felf-jullification, 
which is infufierable to our fellow creatures, Ihould be the 
foundation of our hope before a holy and heart-fearching 
God? 

But, befides, I befeech your attention to the following 
circumllance : even the falfe fuppofition, juft now men- 
tioned, proceeds upon an abfolute miflake of the nature of 
moral obligation. There is no proper merit in the obe- 
dience of a creature, neither hath it, in the leaft degree, 
any title or tendency to extinguifli the guilt of crimes. If 
elleem, love, and obedience, all in the highefi: degree, be 
truly and properly due unto God, no reward can be plead- 
ed for on account of the performance, much lefs can it 
hai'e the effect of procuring pardon where duty hath been 
negleQ;ed. Let me beg of you to reflect upon a matter of 
experience, which is but feklom attended to. Does the 
general goodnefs of a man's charadter incline even the 
world to indulge him in more bad actions than another ? 
It does jull the coiitrar)\ A man, v^ho hath been emi- 
nent in piety during a long courfe of years, if he goes 
allray in any one inflance, will be more deeply reproach- 
ed, and his charafier will fufFer more by it, I may even 
fay, it will fuflfer an hundred-fold more for the fame alli- 
en, than the charader of another whofe conduct has been 
more imperfeft and unequal. 

I look upon it as the duty of a minifter to bend his 
whole force againft a difpofition to felf-righteoufnefs. And, 
indeed, Vv'hethcr we take it from fcripture or reafon, we 
ihall fee that the hope of a fmner mull arife not from ex- 
tenuation, but confefTion ; not from human merit, but 
from the divine mercy. This is fo plain, that had men 
but any real and juft conviftions of their obligations and 
duty to God, fuch a plea would never come into their 
minds. Suppofe any perfon were challenged for a debt 
which- he really owed, and he fliould anfwer in this man- 



^he Deceitfuhiess of Sin. ^t 

ner, It is very true, I have not paid this ; but I paid a 
debt to you at fuch a time, and another at fuch a time, 
and a third at fuch a time ; would it not be natural for the 
other to reply. True indeed j but were not ail thefe debts 
feparately due ? will your paying one difcharge you from 
another? is not this as much due now as any of the reft 
were before ? If therefore you will give the fame juftice to 
your Maker that you expedl from another, you niufl: con- 
fefs that a whole life of perfect and fpotlefs obedience 
would do juft nothing at all to extinguifli the guilt of the 
leaft fin. Be not therefore fo foolifli as to reft your hope 
on that felf-righteoufnefs, which, in truth, is no better 
than filthy rags, and however excellent and perfedl it 
were, could have no effect in procuring the forgivenefs of 
fin. 

(4.) There are fome to be found, who endeavor to ex- 
cufe their a6lual tranfgreffions, as being no more than the 
necefliary effedls of original fin. This we find frequently 
done by thofe who are no friends to religion in general, 
and, perhaps, believe as little of the reality of original as 
the guilt of aclual fin. In fuch, therefore, it is no more 
than a pretence, that they may rid themfelves of the ap- 
prehenfion of both. But there are alfo fome who do not 
leem to be enemies in principle to the truths of the gofpel, 
who yet are very ready to excufe themfelves for particular 
fins, by laying the blame upon their nature in general. It 
is my nature, they will fay ; I have fo firong a difpofition 
to it, that I cannot help it. Thus they feem to fit quite 
cafy under the dominion of fin, and, by giving up all 
hope of overcoming it, are led to forbear all endeavors to 
refill it. 

On this I cannot help obferving, again, how oppofite 
the principles of fin and holinefs are. The fin of our na- 
ture, which, in true penitents, is matter of humiliation 
and forrow, is often produced by others, as an extenuati- 
on of their crimes. See how the Pfalmift David expreffes 
himfelf, Pfal. li. 5. " Behold, I was fliapen in iniquity ; 
*' and in fin did my mother conceive me." Thefe v/ords 
were not fpoken by way of alleviation, but confefilon and 
aggravation. In the fame fpirit does the apollle Paul fpeak 



56 The Dece'ufulness of Sin. 

in a great part of the feventh chapter of the Epiflle to the 

Romans, particularly verfes 14, 24. " For we know 

**" that the law is fpiritual ; but I am carnal, fold under 
" fm. For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, 
" that do I not ; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do 
^ that which I would not, I confent unto the law, that it 
" is good. Now, then, it is no more I thac do it, but fin 
" that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, 
*' in my fleih) dwelleth no good thing : for to will is pre- 
*■'- fent wiihme; but how to perform that which is good, 
" I find not. For the good that I would, I do not ; but 
*' the evil which I would not, that I do. Now, if I do 
*'■ that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but fm that 
" dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that when I would 
" do good, evil is prefent with me : for I delight in the 
*' law of God after the inward man. But I fee another 
" law in my members, warring againft. the law ot my 
*' mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of fin, 
" which is in my members. O wretched man that I am ! 
" who fliall deliver me from the body of this death ? 

That there is fomething myflerious in the firll occafion 
F.nd conveyance of original fm, on which captious perfons 
may raife cavils, to perplex themfelves and others, I rea- 
dily allow. But, after all they can fay, it is certain, both 
from fcripture and experience, that all actual fm is not 
only perfonal but voluntary. Is there any perfon, who 
v/111 dare to maintain, in the face of his Supreme Judge, 
that he is laid under compulfion, or an irrefiftible neceffi- 
ty, to think, fpeak, or do what is wrong ? Does any man 
commit fin, but from his own choice ? Or is he hindered 
from the performance of any duty to which he is fincerely 
and heartily inclined ? If this were indeed the cafe, it 
would not be true, what we are told in the facred oracles, 
that God will be '' juft when he fpeaketh, and clear when 
^' he judgeth." 

I mud: alfo obferve, that, upon the plan of the gofpel, 
the force of this excufe is entirely taken away ; becaufe 
the rennovation of our natures is there afcribed to the 
power and energy of divine grace. Though we are not 
able to reform our natures, God is able to renew them. 



7he Beceitfulness of Sin. 57 

Though we cannot refifl: corruption, God is able to fub- 
due it. Our weak and heiplefs ftate by nature, is fo far 
from being a proper excufe for fm, that a juft and hum- 
bling fenfe of it is the very firft ftep towards a recovery. 
*' Of ourfelves, we are not able to do any good thing, but 
*' through Chrift ftrengthcning us we may do all things." 
\V~e are exhorted to pray for the influences of the Spirit, 
in the fure hope of acceptance : '' Afk, and ye fhall re- 
'' ceive ; leek, and ye Ihall find ; knock, and it Ihall be 
" opened unto you." So that, on the prevailing of fin, 
v/e have jufl reafon to take the whole blame uj)on our- 
felves, and to fay, " We are not Uraitened in God, but 
*' Uraitened in our own bowels." 

(5.) In the laft place, fome arc bold enough to excufe 
their fms, as being only the effeas of the irrefiftible will of 
God, who hath decreed whatfoever comes to pafs ; ibine 
in a more artful and covered way ; and fome more openly 
and explicitly make ufe of God's abfolute pre-determinati- 
on of every event, as taking away the guilt of their volun- 
tary aftions. This hath been a very old excufe. It was 
the fpirit of that language you find, Ezek. xxxiii. 10. 
*' Therefore, O thou fon of man, fpeak unto the houfe of 
'' Ifrael, thus ye fpeak, faying, if our tranfgreflions and 
" our fms be upon us, and we pine away in them, how 
" fhould we then live r" The fame thing is mentioned by 
the apolUe Paul, Rom. ix. 19. " Thou wilt fay then unto 
*' me, why doth he yet find fault .^ for who hath refilled 
" his will ?" This infamous and blafphemous excufe is 
not only often made for particular fins, but is made a pil- 
low of iloth in general, and finners lay themfelves afleep 
upon it in fecurity, faying, if it be the will of God, they 
Ihould be fiived, the event is infallible, let them take ever 
"fo defperate a courfe ; and if otherwife, it is impofiible for 
them to oppofe his irrefiftible decree. 

In order to oppofe this profane perverfion of divine 
truth, let me put you in mind, what fin and folly it muft 
be in us, to fet the nature of God at'variance \n\.h his re- 
vealed will, or one declaration of his in oppofition to ano- 
ther. It is from the fcriptures alone, that you learn 
God's fupreme dominion and appodntment of every event. 

Vol. IL K 



58 7"/3<? Deceit fulness of Sin. 

And is it not certain, that the fame fcriptnres do lay the 
guilt or finfulnefs of every adlion to the finner's charge?. 
Doss not God abfolutely refufe, nay, in infinite conde- 
fcenlion, he folemnly protells againil having it imputed to 
himfelf. Let the guilty hear and tremble, Ezek. xxxiii. 
II. " As I live, faith the Lord God, I have no pleafure in 
*' the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from 
*^ his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil 
" ways; for why will ye die, O houfe of Ifrael !" And 
again, James i. 13. '' Let no man fay, when he is tempt- 
'"' ed, I am tempted of God ; for God cannot be tempted 
" with evil, neither tempteth he any man." Perhaps, 
fome will fay, we cannot reconcile the certainty of events 
with the freedom of adions, or the imputation of guilt. 
But what is this, but faying we are not able to fathom or 
comprehend the perfe6lions of an infinite God ? And is 
this any caufe of wonder ? It would not be the true God, 
if you could fearch him out ; it would not be the Almigh- 
ty, if you could find him to perfection. " It is higher 
"• than heaven, what canft thou do ? Deeper than hell, 
" what canll thou know ? The meafure thereof is longer 
" than the earth, and broader than the fea." 

Surely, my brethren, it is manifefl:, that the fame God, 
to whom all his works are known from the beginning of 
the world, and who rules by his power for ever, hath 
eilablifhed a neceffarv connexion between the means and 
the end, between the caufe and efteCl;. And, as it would 
be altogether madnefs in common life, to fit ftill and tor- 
bear activity and diligence, under pretence of its being 
impoffible to hir.der or alter the will of God ; io it is 
equally mad and impious, to lay the blame of our fmful 
hearts and inclinations on the appointment of God. He 
can and doth control and over-rule, by his fovereign pro- 
vidence, all his creatures and all their aftions, in a iub- 
ferviency to his own glory ; but, as to the finlulnefs of 
every deed, the fmner alone is chargeable with it, and in 
the day of judgment, the finner alone mud anfvver for it. 

Before I proceed to the third branch of the deceitful- 
nefs of fin, I mull beg your attention to a few oblervdti- 
ons on what hath been already faid. And, 



The Deceitfulness of Sin. 5P 

id, You may obferve how various and involved, and 
how deep-laid the excufes for fin are. The ways of the 
world, the general prevalence of fin, and many of thofe 
very circumllances which ought to make us dread its in- 
fluence, and fill us with abhorrence of it, are frequently 
made ufe of to extenuate its guilt. The corrupt inclina- 
tion of our hearts, which is the fource of all fin, and may 
be faid to be the efTence of fin, is often made ufe of to ex* 
cufe or palliate its effeds, as the badnefs of the tree for the 
fournels of the grapes. How ill qualified are we to judee 
fairly on fuch a fubjeft ? We are partial in our own caufe, 
and give an unjuft decifion from our relation to the pan- 
nel. Down then with the reafonings of the carnal min3'/ 
Sufpedl them, dread them, fliut your ears againfi: them. 
What reafon is there to fit down in filence, and humbly 
acquiefce in the account given us of our charafter, and 
Hate, by a God of infinite holinefs ? There is no error to 
blind his judgment, no intereft to bias his inclination, and 
there is no equal who may contend or enter into judgment 
with him. 

2dly, You may fee that the excufes for fin, are not on- 
ly infufficient, but dee])ly criminal. In the form they 
afi'ume, they may appear plaufible ; but, when they are 
llripped of their difguife, they will appear to be horrible. 
The immediate pretence may appear to have nothing very 
atrocious in it ; but when they are traced to their fource, 
they will be found to take their rife from the mofl: malig- 
nant infidelity or atheifm in the heart. You fee, from 
what has been faid, that many excufes for fin, at lafi:, land 
in laying the blame upon God himfelf. All the encou- 
ragement we take in fin from the divine patience, all our 
abufe or perverfion of the gifts of nature, or the courfe of 
providence, lands ultimately here. Let us therefore pray, 
that it may pleafe God to open our eyes on the wonders of 
his law, on the riches of his grace, and the greatnefs of 
his power. Let us confefs, that " to us belongeth fhame 
*' and confufion of face; but to our God belongeth mercy.'* 
Let us adopt the words of the Pfalmift, Pfalm xix. 12. 
" Who can underfiand his errors ? Cleanfe thou me from 
" fecret faults.'* 



6o Ithe Deccitfulness of Sin. 

3. I proceed, now, to the third and laft branch of the 
deceitfulnefs of fm, viz. Its infinuating nature, by which 
it leads men on, in an infenfible manner, from one degree 
of wickednefs to a higher, and, after the voluntary com- 
miflion of fome fins, lays them under a fort of neceffity of 
committing more. I think it is probable that the apoftle 
had this particularly in his view in the text, where he fays, 
jExhort one another daily ^ nuhile it is called to-day ; lest 
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 
And certain it is, my brediren, that wicked men do not 
fee the whole courfe they are to run at one view, but are 
drawn in by little and little. Take the mod abandoned 
fmner in this guilty world, and there was a time of his 
life when he would have trembled to think of the crimes 
which he aftervv'ards committed. Thus Hazael, King of 
Syria, when he was told by the prophet Eliflia, of the un- 
natural barbarity and cruelty he would be guilty of among 
the children of Ifrael, he could not believe fo ill of himfelf, 
but anfvvered, with a kind of abhorrence, " What, is thy 
*' fervant a dog, that he fliould do this great thing ?" But 
fuch is the nature of fin, that it carries men away, if they 
yield to it, infinitely farther than they themfelves intended. 
We find this taken notice of by moral writers in every 
age and country. Many of the ancients ufed to reprefent 
it by a very exprefilve fimilitude, viz. that the way of vice 
lies down hill ; fo that if you take but a few fteps, the mo- 
tion is foon accelerated, and becomes fo violent and im- 
petuous, that it is impofiible for you to refift: it. 

This is certainly acircumftance, with refpedltothe na- 
ture of fin, which lies at the foundation of practical religi- 
on, and to which I would particularly intreat the attention 
of the younger part of my audience. Neither is it un- 
fuitable to perfons of any character, as it will contribute to 
enforce upon their minds, a fenfe of the necefiity of con- 
Itant vigilance, and of confiant prayer. In order to re- 
prefent the matter to you in the Itronger liglit, I fliall en- 
deavor to lay before you fome of the chief Ilei)s and grada- 
tions by which a finner is brought into a hardened fiate ; 
and (liow how naturally, and in a manner neceflarily, they 
lead him forward from one to another. 



The Decehfulness of Sin. 6\ 

(i.) Men enter and initiate themfelves in a vicious 
practice by rmaller fins. Though every fin hath that ma- 
lignity in it that it del'erves God's wrath and curfc borh 
in this life and that which is to come, yet there are foiTie 
fms, which, in themfelves, as well as from feverai cir- 
cumftances which attend them, are far more heinous in 
the fight of God than others. Thefe are too alarming to 
the confcience of a young fniner ; and, therefore, he only 
ventures upon fuch as are fmaller at fird, I hope yoa 
will not think it too minute or trifling, if I mention that 
every particular kind of vice creeps in, in this gradual 
manner. Many have begun to ileal, with taking away 
things without their parents knowledge from their ov/u 
houfe, thinking there could be little fault in this ; and then 
picked up fmall things, perhaps, from people of better 
rank, faying to themfeves, they will never be the worie of 
it, they can eafily fpare it ; but time has perfe<5led them in 
their trade, till they ended their days upon a fcaffold. 
Some have begun with little arts of equivocation, and con- 
cealing the truth, who, in time, came to boklnefs and ob- 
ftinacy in grofs falfehood. And many have begun with 
levity of carriage, and vanity of drefs, who have ended in 
lufi:, whoredom, and open prollitution. My brethren, 
though we are all born in fm, and powerfully inclined to 
that which is evil, from our firlf entrance into the world; 
yet we have alfo a witnefs for God in our own confci- 
ences. There feems to be fome reludance in the fird 
commiffion of fin ; fome forrow and regret for departing 
innocence.. It is a faying of one of the heathens, " No 
" man b^omes all of a fudden very wicked i" or, if I 
may life the expreflion, is made perfect in fin. It ufually 
takes fome time, and is carried on by progrefs and im- 
provement, though fome, alas ! make wonderful proficien. 
cy in it, and advance at a very great pace. Thefe lefler 
fins, then, are the introduilion and preparation for what 
afterwards Ihall follow ; they begin the attack upon con- 
fcience, which, at lail, ends in a total overthrow and de- 
feat. 

(2.) Let us novv follow the finner to the next flage of 
his unhappy courfe. Having once begun in the ways ol 



62 The D eceitf Illness of Sin. 

fin, he ventures upon fomething greater and more daring; 
his courage grows with his experience ; and he gives him- 
felt more liberty to walk in the ways of his own heart, and 
the fight of his own eyes. Now, fins of a deeper dye do 
not look fo frightful as before. The reafon of this is plain, 
or rather there are many reafons which concur in produ- 
cing this efieft. Cuflom makes every thing familiar, even 
to defpifmg the authority of God, and countera6ling the 
Itrongell obligations. Siniiers, after fome apprenticelhip 
to this infamous trade, commit fuch fins as lay vvaile the 
confcience, and ofter the greatelt violence to their own 
minds ; theie ftill lead forward to others, and to every new 
tranigreffion, if I may fpeak fo, they are driven by a ftrong- 
er inclination, and with-held by a weaker refiftance. No 
fin comes by itfelf alone, but Hands in clofe connexion 
with many others. Some fins teach us how to commit 
others, as well as afford an opportunity to do it. I have 
heard of a fervant who went into an apartment with no 
other intention than to gratify appetite, by making free 
%vith fome fweet-meats ; but happening to fee fomething 
very valuable lying open, which might be eaiily conceal- 
ed, could not refill the temptation, but commenced thief, 
and, came, at lad, to a miferable end. Many fins alfo 
bring others after them, as excufes to cover them. So 
that no perfon, who once breaks over the limits of clear 
and unqueflionable duty, knows how far he may be carri- 
ed before he returns back, or rather whether he may not 
be fo deeply involved, as never to return at all. This leads 
me to obferve, 

(3.) That open fins foon throw a man into the hands 
of ungodly companions. This effeft is necclTary, becaufe 
they determine his charaftcr ; and according to the old 
obfervation, thofe of like difpofition, by a natural and pow- 
erful inilinft, are led to alfociate together. No fooner do 
men begin to take liberties in their condu(5l, than they be- 
gin to Ihun the fociety of good men ; the prefence of iuch 
is a reflraint upon them ; their example is a reproof to 
them, and awakens any principle of confcience, which 
yet remains unfubdued, to reproach and lling them ; 
whereas, in fociety like thcmfelvcs, they are greatly em- 



The Deceitfulness of Sin. 63 

boldened, by feeing vice praclifed, and by hearing it jufti- 
fied. Behold die finner, then, with corrupt communica- 
tion as well as corrupt inclination ! The danger ot this 
we are warned of by the apodle Paul, i Cor. xv. 33, 
"Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good 
" manners." As united fires burn the fiercer and the 
llronger ; fo a fmful fociety improves and grows in im- 
piety, and every member joins his brother's pollution to 
his own. It is not eafy to fay, how much profane com- 
panions are inllrumental in reciprocally undoing one ano- 
ther. But furely if thofe, otherwife virtuous, are often 
in danger of being led away with the error ot the wicked, 
much more mud they who are themfelves fo difpofed, and 
and are every whit as ready to follow a bad advice or exam- 
ple, as others are to give it. 

I cannot forbear adding upon this fubjedl, that feriouf- 
ly difpofed perfons are as much afraid of the fociety of 
loofe perfons, as they are impatient of theirs. This makes 
the feparation ftill more complete. And even when they 
are occafionally joined, the fear of calling their pearls be- 
fore fwine, who may trample them under their feet, and 
turn again and rend them, often Ihuts their mouths. It 
prevents them from giving that falutary inftruction, and 
ufeful admonition, which their heart might didate, or the 
neceffity of the cafe might require. I confefs, my bre- 
thren, when I confider the unfpeakable advantages for true 
piety, which arife from the relation, the company, or the 
friendlhip of eminent Chriftians, it fills me with the deep- 
ell concern for thofe unhappy perfons, who, by their con- 
duct and circumflances, are neceflarily deprived cf every 
thing of this kind, nay, are daily expofed to all the con- 
trary fnares. I dare fay, not a few in this afiembly will 
bear witnefs, as I defire to do with inward gratitude to 
God, what infinite benefit -arifes from the fociety of the 
excellent ones of the earth ; to have been inflru6:ed and 
trained up by pious parents in the fear of God; to have 
had your lot call in a family which was a houfe of prayer ; 
to have the faithful admonitions of a truly confcientious 
friend ; and to have the daily edifying, reftraining, com- 
forting, animating example of an eminent ChrilUan, as 



64 The Deceitfiilness of Sin. 

well as a fhare in his fervent prayers. Nay, I will fay 
more, the very precious remembrance of fuch, after they 
have entered into reft, whether parents, children, friends, 
or neighbors, has the nobleft and happieil efleft in re- 
proving our floth, and llirring us up to be '■'• followers of 
" them, who, throuj^h faith and patience, do now inherit 
*'' the promifes." How miferable thofe who are wholly 
ignorant of every fuch privilege ! How deceitful is fin, 
which daily adminifter the moll deadly poifon, and, at 
the very fame time, clofes up the way on every fide, and 
debars the infeded victim from every mean that might 
contribute to his cure ! 

(4.) In the next ilage, the finner begins to feel the 
force of habit and inveterate cultom. The frequent re- 
petition of a£ls of fin conilitutes a habit. How powerful 
this is, and hard to be overcome, experience is a daily 
ilanding proof. We are warned of the danger of habitu- 
al wickednefs in many pafTages of fcripture, particularly 
Jer. xii. 5. " If thou hall run with the footmen, and they 
*•'■ have wearied thee, then how canil thou contend v/ith 
" horfes ? and if, in the land of peace, wherein thou truft- 
*'■ edft, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the 
*•• fwelling of Jordan ?" Chap, xiii. 23. " Can the Ethi- 
*<■ opian change his flvin, or the leopard his fpols ? then 
•''• may ye alfo do good, that are accullomed to do evil." 
Nature itlelf, in this, as in many other inftances, is full 
of fpiritual indruftion. Habits of any indifferent kind, 
when once efiablifhed, can hardly be overcome even by 
the greateil effort of refolution ; even any motion of the 
body, or any particular word or phrafe in difcourfe, if 
once they have taken place by cullom, are hardly ever 
laid down. But, it mufl be obferved, that habits of fin 
are not only infinitely more hurtful than habits of a com- 
mon kind, but they are alfo mflch more obilinate. They 
fall ill with the bent and difpofition of corrupt nature; and, 
therefore, are like a double cord, not ealily broken. 

Behold then the finner rooted and fettled in an evil way ! 
Before, it might have been expelled, that an awful dif- 
penfation of Providence, or the convincing demonllration 
of tlie word of God, might have had an effed upon him ; 



7hs Deceitfulness of Sin, 6$; 

but now, though it is aill pofTible, it becomes lefs and 
lefs probable. A tree, when it is newly planted, may be 
eafily removed, or may be overturned by a blaft ot wmd; 
but when once it has fpread its roots in the ground, and 
loner kept its pofieflion, the mod violent temped may bend 
its t'op a little, but cannot Qiake its firm foundations, oo 
the fmner, that has been long habituated to wickednefs, 
and confirmed by a long courfe of time, will ftand even 
the florms of aftliaion, and, if they do bend his haughty 
fpirit yet they will not break his Ilubborn heart. I do not 
mean to fet bounds to the almighty power and fovere;gn 
grace of God. He, no doubt, may, and, in fome intlan- 
ces has pluckt the mofl advanced finners as brands out 
of the fire. But thefe inftances are few and uncommon, 
for fome of the great ends of his government. It is not 
the ordinary way of his dealing with us ; and he hath luih- 
ciently warned us againft trufiing to it. He hath threat- . 
ened to make tlie finner feel the natural confequence of 
obdinacy, by ceafing to drive with him, and giving him 
up to the luds of his own heart. 

It is an awful, but, ufeful leflbn which young perfons 
may learn from what they fee in the world about them. 
Thofe who have been long habituated to idlenefs, v/hat a 
hopelefs thing is it to attempt to bring them to apply ? 
Thofe who have been long habituated to drunkenneis and 
intemperance, or fenfuality of any kind, we ought not to 
fay they are inclined to it, but diey are compelled to it byf 
the irrefidible calls of thefe appetites which they are no 
longer able to control. All who obferve them, are fo fen- 
fible of it, that they confider it, as in vain to fpeak to them, 
and think they may jud as well fpeak to the wind or t'ns 
dorm: nay, we may often perceive the poor unhappy 
wretches themfelves fenfible in fome meafure, of their 
captivity, though unable tp break the chains that bind 
them. Some drunkards have been known to be filled 
with the deeped vexation, and ready to tear their own 
flefli on refleaion of their beadly condition, and yet 
drawn, by an irrefidble force, to the next temptation-— 
Nothing can fet in a clearer light the deceitfu nefs of fin 
than co?nparing the drength of habits, with the flow and 
Vol. II. I 



99 The Deceltfulness of Sin. 

filent manner in which they fteal on. One fingle a6l of 
fm feems nothing ; but one after another imperceptibly 
flrengthens the difpofition, and enflaves the unhappy cri- 
minal beyond hope of recovery. 

(5.) The next ftage in a fmner's courfe, is, to lofe the 
fenfeof fliame, and lin openly and boldly. Sin is, in it- 
felf, a difhonorable thing, which hath, in many inftances, 
theteftimony of mankind againftit, though their pradlice 
be on its fide. Hence conies the veil and covering of 
hypocrify. Mod part of fins are the works of darknefs, 
becaufe they fliun the light. But, when once a firmer has 
come to a certain degree, he throws off every mail's: or 
covering, and fins in the face of the fun. He no more 
feeks darknefs for his evil deeds, but walks as " deflrudli- 
*' on that waileth at noon-day." The obferving eyes, and 
cenfuring tongues of men, are, now, no bar in his way ; 
fince the ft;rength of inclination and habit is fuch, that he 
mull indulge himfelf, he takes courage, and refufes to be 
reflrained. 

The prophet Jeremiah mentions it as an evidence of a 
high degree of degeneracy in the children of Ifrael, that 
many of them had loll all fenfe of fliame, Jeremiah vi. 15. 
*' Were they afliamed when they had committed abomi- 
" nation ? nay, they were not at all afliamed, neither 
" could they blufh : therefore they fliall fall among them 
" that fall : at the time that I vifit them they fhall be cafl 
#*' down, faith the Lord." And, without all quefl:ion, it 
is an evidence on an uncommon height of impiety, when 
even natural fhanie is gone ; and whoever are in that con- 
dition, have lofl: a very powerful fence to virtue. So 
long as (hame. remains, it is a great draw-back upon them 
in their licentious pra6lices ; but, when it is no more, 
they are without curb or reftraint, they draw iniquity 
wit/j cords of vanity, and sin^ as it were, with a cart- 
rope. And that men are naturally carried to this bold and 
fhamelefs impiety, is evident from the very nature of the 
thing. Repeated a6ls of fin, which muft be known, of- 
fend natural modelty fo frequently, and accuflom a man 
fo much to fliame, that he lofcs the fenfe of it in time alto- 
gether. Of this we have but too many examples. 



The Deceitfuhiess of Sin. 67 

(6.) Another ftage in the Tinner's progrefs, is, to har- 
den himfelf fo far, as to fm without remorfe of confcience. 
The confcience of a fmner, for a Jong time, bears its tef- 
timony againfl: him, and every outward indulgence cofts 
him fome inward uneafinefs ; but, after he hath given 
himfelf over to abandoned wickednefs, it frequently ceafes 
its reproof. This victory he may obtain two different 
ways: i. Theeafiefl: and fpeedieft way is by hearkening 
to loofe principles. Thefe, at once, fet the mind at eafe, 
and blunt the reproofs of confcience. But of this I have 
fpoken on a former head. 2. The other way is pra6lical. 
The frequent repetition of atrocious crimes ftupifies the 
confcience. They, as it were, weary it out, and drive it 
todefpair. It is much the fame with the monitor in our 
own breaft, and any friend who has a concern for another; 
if he finds that infl:ru6lion, admonition, reproach, are all 
in vain, he, at lafl, loofens the reins, and fuffers him to 
take his courfe. Now, what mull be the condition of a 
man, who has out-finned even his confcience itfelf ? he 
mufl furely be kept within no bounds, but triumph in his 
miferable conqueft. The apoflle Paul tells us, i Tim. 
iv. 2, of fome who are guilty of " fpeaking lies in hypo- 
'' crify, having their confcience feared w^ith a hot iron." 
And thus defcribes the condition of fome finners, Eph. iv. 
19. •'■ Who being pafi: feeling, have given themfelves over 
*' unto lafcivioufnefs, to work all uncleannefs with greedi- 
" nefs." Perhaps, it may be thought fome degree of com- 
fort to a finner to have overcome his confcience, fo that he 
is no more harralTed with its reproofs. But confider, I 
pray you, that all that he hereby gains, is only to be a lit- 
tle farther out of the way of recovery, a little nearer to de- 
flru6lion. What avails it, that he has rendered himfelf 
infenfible of his danger ? This will neither fcreen him 
from it, nor make it lighter when it falls. There is fome- 
thing, on the contrary, extremely terrible in the conditi- 
on of that man who is infenfible of the judgment awaiting 
him, and fl;ill going on, till he lift up his eyes in torments 
that fliall never have an end. But, before this, he has 
frequently fome further fieps to go. Having finifhed his 
charader, he proceeds to finiili his work ; and, therefore, 
in the 



6$ T/je Decei {fulness of Sin. 

(7.) Place, Improved finners often come to boaft and 
glory of their wickednefs. It is Ibmething to be above 
Ihame ; but it is more flill to glory in wickednefs, and 
efleem it honorable. Hear what the apoftle Paul fays of 
I'uch, Phil. iii. 18, 19. " For many walk, of whom 1 have 
" told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that 
" they are the enemies of the crofs of Chrift, whofe end is 
" defiruftion, whofe God is their belly, and whofe glory 
" is in their fhame, vho mind earthly things." How 
inany are there who have lludied to excel each other in the 
glorious art of debauchery and riot, and then proclaim 
their own praifes upon the fabjedl ! How dreadful and 
how pernicious a character ! for it is never feparated 
from its counterpart, defpiling and reproaching true reli- 
gion, and a fledfall adherence to its laws. It gives me 
great concern to fay, that there is fo much pains taken 
amongil us, to give countenance to profanity ; fo that it 
requires no fmall meafure of courage and refolution not to 
be afiiamed of our Mafler's crofs. To what height of 
wickednefs are thofe arrived, who have thus inverted the 
natural order of things, have niaftered their own judg- 
ment, and turned their reafon upfide down. Glorious 
ambition indeed ! to have made fuch a progrefs downward 
toward the brute creation, both as to their bodily appetites 
and the fentiments of their minds. There remaineth but 
one fiep more for them to take, vis, 

(0.) Not to be content with being wicked themfelves, 
but to ufe all their art and influence to make others fo too. 
This is to be zealous in finning, and induftrioufly to pro- 
mote the interell of the infernal caufe. How often do we 
find thofe who have no fear of God before their own eyes, 
ufe their utmoll endeavors to extinguifli it in ethers, to 
laugh dovVn the qualms of their confciences, and break 
any reluctance they may fcem to have at running to the 
fame excefs of riot with themfelves ? Some are fo emi- 
nent this way that they refemble the Pharilees who " com- 
''• paffed fea and land to niake one profelyte," and when 
they had made him, they made him " two-fold more the 
" child of hell than themfelves." So will zealots in vice, 
compafs fca and land to make a profelyte to the devil. It 



The Deceitfiibiess of Shi. 69 

is hard to tell to what we fhould attribute this extraoruina- 
ry conduct. Is it that they are really perl\)adecl they have 
made a wife choice, and out of their great generofity and 
affedlion to their brethren are willing to make them part- 
ners of their joy ? This I am afraid will hardly be believ- 
ed by any reafonable man. It is more probable, that as 
they refemble in many other refpe6ls their father the devil, 
To they refemble him alfo in malice, " going about like 
" roaring lions, feeking whom they may devour." They 
already begin to feel their mifery by fin, and defire to bring 
as many as pofiible into the fame condition, as a wretched 
(and indeed miftaken) fource of confolation in their fu- 
ture wo. 

And now to clofe the fcene, thofe who have thus far 
hardened themfelves fliall be given up of God to judicial 
blindnefs of mind, and hardnefs of hieart. When this 
fentence takes place, they are incapable of mercy, and 
marked out as veffels of vi^rath, fitted to deftruftion. That 
God fometimes, in his righteous judgment, lays the finner 
under this awful fentence, is evident from the following 
paflages of fcripture, Ifa. vi. 10. " Make the heart of this 
" people fat, and make their ears heavy, and fliut their 
" eyes : left they fee with their eyes, and hear with their 
" ears, and underfi:and with their heart, and convert, and 
" be healed. John xii. 39, 40. " Therefore they couki 
" not believe, becaufe that Efaias faid again, he hath blind- 
" ed their eyes, and hardened their heart ; that they fliould 
*' not fee with their eyes, nor underfiand whh their heart, 
'•'• and be converted, and I fliould heal them." Rom. i. 28. 
" And even as they did not like to retain God in their 
" knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, 
" to do thofe tilings which are not convenient." 2 ThelT. 
ii. II, 12. " And for this caufe God Ihall fend them 
" ftrong delufions, that they fliall believe a lie ; that they 
" all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but 
"■ had pleafure in iinrighteoufnefs." This is always a 
confequence of their former obdinacy. As they defpife 
and trample upon his mercy, he gives them over to them- 
felves and the mailers they have chofen ; he finiflies the 
day of his patience and long-fuflering, and devotes them 
to the judgment they deferve. 



70 7he Deceiifuhiess of Sin, 

And now, nny brethren, view (and view it with terror !) 
the dreadful confequence of the deceitfuhiefs of fin, and 
by what fatal ileps it leads on to that hardnefs of heart 
which is a fure prelude of eternal mifery. Who that 
ventures upon the pradice of fin, ever intends to go fo 
ic\x ? They mean only to take a fliort trial of the plea- 
fures of vice ; but it gains upon them infenfibly, and fixes 
its hold ftill fafler and fafler, till they are its abfolute Haves. 
I fliall conclude this illufl:ration of the deceitfulnefs of fin 
with obferving, that there is an exact correfpondence be- 
tween the progrefs of a faint in holinefs and meetnefs for 
heaven, and the progrefs of a wicked man in fin, and his 
growing fitnefs and preparation for hell. A new con- 
vert finds it hard at firft to feparate himfelf from his fins, 
and confine himfelf within the bounds of duty ; he has 
fome relenting thought towards his lufis, as old compani- 
ons from which he is to part forever. Jufl: fo a young 
and unexperienced finner finds fome relu£lance at fin, 
fome uneafincfs from the challenges of confcience, and 

painful forebodings of his unknown future fate. A good 

man after walking fome time in the paths of virtue finds 
the way become fmoother and eafier, and ferves God with 
grea.ter conftancy, and with greater pleafure. Jufl fo the 
finner finds it more eafy, through time, to violate his con- 
fi:ience, does it more frequently, and with lefs remorfe. — 
A good man foon afibciates himfelf with the excellent ones 
of the earth, he is infl:ru6ted by their converfation, em- 
boldened by their example, and aflified by their prayers. 
Jull fo the finner foon finds, or is found out by thofe who 
are like him in inclination ; they join in confederacy, 
adopt each others principles, and follow each others prac- 
tice. A good man in time is thoroughly confirmed, 

becomes poflefl: of a prevailing love to God and holinefs ; 
io that it is his very nature, his delight, as well as duty. 
Jufl: fo the finner, in procefs of time, is governed by his 
lulls : they acquire that authority over him that they do 

not folicit but demand indulgence. A good man is 

fortified in his choice, and defpifes the fmiles and frowns 
of a corrupt world. Jufl fo the finner lays afide fliame, 
and fays, nay but I will do that which hath proceeded out 



The Deceitfuhiess of Sin. 71 

of my mouth. A gootl man is filled with concern for 

the interefl of religion. Jult fo the fmner efpoufes the 
caufe of profanity, will plead it in his converfation, and 
ilrengthen it with his fubftance. — In fine, a good man is 
at laft raifed above the world, his heart is in heaven, and 
he longs to be carried there. Juft fo the finner fills up che 
meafure of his iniquity ; the infernal paffions take poiFefii- 
on of the whole man, he becomes weary of the earth ibr 
the few good men that are in it, and is fully prepared for 
the language of blafphemy and defpair. 

11. I proceed now to the fecond general head, which 
was to confider the duty which is founded by the apolUe 
on the deceitfulnefs of fin. viz. mutual exhortation, Ex- 
hort one another daily ^ while it is called^ to-day. This I 
fliall do by fome refledlions on the three follovvmg particu- 
lars, id. The perfons who are obliged to exhort others. 
2dly, The feafon in which this duty is to be performed. 
And, 3dly, The manner in which it is to be performed, 
if we hope to do it with fuccefs. 

I. As to the perfons who are obliged to exhort others. 
It feems in this paflage to be laid upon Chriftians in gene- 
ral, without any exception, exhort one another; and there 
is little doubt, that it may and ought to be underltood in 
the greateft latitude. This is perfectly confonant to the 
fpirit of true religion, to our relation one to another, and 
to the confiant language both of the Old and New-Tella- 
ment. The two great branches of pradlical religion, the 
heads of the two tables of the moral law, ar^: love to God 
and love to man ; and as our love to man ought to take 
its rife from our love to God, fo there can be no exprefQon 
of it more natural, or more neceflary, than an endeavor to 
warn them of the deceitful nature and dangerous confe- 
quences of fin. This is a duty which is founded with the 
higheft propriety on the deceitfulnefs of fin. For as it de- 
ludes the finner himfelf, often in an infenfible manner, 
others may be fuppofed to obferve his condition, and to 
fee the impofition more clearly, and are therefore obliged, 
by the diftates both of humanity and piety, to awaken 
him as it were from his lethargy, and adraonilh him of 



72 The Decehfulness of Sin, 

his danger. Oh, my brethren ! confider how clear ?.n(l 
unqueftionable this duty appears in common matters. 
Suppofe any man were to obferve an apartment on fire, 
and know of fcveral perfons fleeping over it, or near it, in 
fecurity, when a few moments delay would wrap them in 
the flames, what a monller of injuflice and barbarity would 
he be reckoned, if he did not give them immediate notice, 
that they might flee from the danger. Is the danger of fin 
lefs real ? Is it lefs terrible ? Jufl the contrary. The lofs 
of fubftance, or the lofs of life, by fire in our dwellings, is 
not once to be compared with having foul and body for- 
ever tormented in the fire of hell. 

Agreeably to this, we find frequent mention of this 
duty both in the Old and New-Teflament. It is a pre- 
cept in the Levitical lav/, Lev. xix. 17. " Thou Ihalt not 
" hate thy brother in thine heart ; thou flialt in any wife 
*' rebuke thy neighbor, and not fuffer fin upon him." Prov. 
IX. 8. " — Rebuke a wife man, and he will love thee." 
Phil. ii. 4. " Look not every man on his own things, 
*' but every man alfo on the things of others." Keb. x. 
24. " And let us confider one another to provoke unto 
" love, and to good works." 

There is no doubt, at the fame time, that this duty, 
hiOwever general, lies with peculiar and heavier obligations 
on fome than on others, and varies a little according to 
the different relations we Hand in to one another. You 
will eafily be fenfible how much it is the duty of thofe v;ho 
have the m.inifiry of recoticiliation committed to them, 
who are entruliecl with the charge of precious fouls, to be 
urgent and earned in their exhortations, to all without 
exception ; to be at all proper pains to fit themfelves fot* 
awakening the attention, enlightening the underfianding, 
.nnd convincing the confciences of their hearers. It is 
their duty to do what in them lies, to trace the fubtil 
workings antl windings of the human heart, and to know 
the depths of Satan, as the fcripture exprefles it, to de-' 
ciare the whole counfel of God, and keep back nothing 
that is profitable for tiieir hearers. It is not to be denied 
that you ought to hear them with patience and attention ; 
that liiey have a right to fpeak with freedom and boldnefs 



The Decdtfulness of Sin. 73 

to perfons of every rank and chara£ler ; and that there 
ought to be a particular fire and edge in their exhortati- 
ons, fmce they watch lor your fouls as thofe who mufl give 
an account unto God. 

There is alfo a particular obligation upon fupcriors of 
all forts, whether in office, as magi Urates ; in llation, as 
perfons of wealth and opulence ; in years, as thofe whom 
time and experience fliould have enriched with folid Vv if- 
dom ; in relation, as parents and mailers of families, to 
be frequent in exhorting others, and warning them of the 
deceitfulnefs of fm. It is laid upon them, and expe6ted 
of them, that they fhould not live to themfelves, that they 
fhould not fatisfy themfelves with exa6ting and looking for 
the refpeft and deference which is their due ; but that they 
ought to exert themfelves, in giving ufeful inl"tru6lion or 
falutary admonition to all who are within their fphere. 
Is fin fo deceitful ? Are the unwary and ignorant fo ea- 
fily milled, and fo hardly recovered ? Then furely thofe 
who ought to excel others in knowledge, Ihould be care- 
ful to impart it for the benefit of the weak. Undoubtedly, 
my brethren, it is not only a Chriftian, but a noble and 
amiable chara6ler, for thofe who are exalted above others, 
to be full of compaffion to their inferiors, and in their 
whole converfation breathing a defire after their fpiritiuil 
good. 

But it is alfo plainly a part of Chriflian friendfliip, even 
for equals to exhort one another, and kindly to commu- 
nicate their mutual experience in the fpiritual life. " The 
" lips of the righteous (we are told by Solomon) feed ma- 
*' ny." O how rare and difficult a duty ! But v/herefore 
fliould it be either difficult or rare ? The Love of God 
leads to it. The (late of your brethren requires it. And 
furely it is neither unpleafant nor hurtful to him that per- 
forms it. I am fenfible where the difficulty lies. We 
fuppofe there are few who will hear it with patience, or 
receive it with profit. Alas! my brethren, it is too true, 
we hear on all hands, complaints, that people will not 
take advice ; that they are but offended, inllead of bein,^ 
reformed. Perhaps, indeed, this is as much owing to 
the manner of giving, as to the backwardnefs of receiving 
Vol. II. ^ K 

\ 



74 The De ceitf Illness of Sin. 

counfel. Hov^'ever, v/e fliall allow the objection ; and 
fince the duty is mutual, I hope it v^'ill not be reckoned 
■wandering from the fubje6l, if I befeech 5'ou to fubmit to 
one anothers exhortation. We all Hand in need of it ; 
we. may all be the better for it. What though it be ad- 
niiniflered imprudently or harflily for the manner ; nay, 
though it may flow from envy, pride, or malice, as the 
principle; you will lofe nothing by hearkening to the 
counfel. I do not remember any thing recorded more 
truly glorious for a monarch, than what we are told of 
Philip of Macedon, that he heard reproofs not only with 
patience, but with pleafure : and I am fure, there is no- 
thing more like a Chriflian, than to profit, not only by 
the admonitions of friends, but by the reproaches of ene- 
mies. If they are jufl, reform what is amifs ; if they are 
probable, abllain from the appearance of evil : if they arc 
neither the one nor the other, fubmit to them with pati- 
ence, as a part of the will of God. 

2. I come now to confider the feafon in which the duty 
of mutual exhortation is to be performed. Exhort one 
another daily, m^hile it is called^ to-day. By which we 
are to underfland, that it is to be done frequently, and 
without delay. This, my brethren, will perfedlly ac- 
commodate the fubjefl: of this difcourfe to our preicnt fitu- 
ation, when entering on another year. We have many 
admonitions of the quick paflage of time ; and all thefe 
ferve to enforce the exhortation of the v/ife man, Ecclef. 
ix. lo. " Whatfoever thy hand fmdeth to do, do it with 
" thy might ; for there is no work, nor device, nor know- 
" ledge, nor vvifdom, in the grave, whither thou goefl." 
If any hearer has received a conviftion of the deceitful- 
nefs of'fin, or the duty of mutual exhortation, he ought 
ferioufly to confider, that the prefent time only is his ; 
that he knoweth not what a day or a night ntay bring 
'forth ; and that delaying or poftponing what he may do 
at prefent, is at the poflible or probable hazard of its be- 
ing left undone for ever. I befeech you, my brethren, to 
make this ufe of the commencement of another year. 
There is no diiference, in one fenfe, between one Ci'xy 
and another, as much of life is Ipent, and as much of our 



The Deceitfulness of Sin. 



/:> 



dying frame is wafted in one day as in another ; but our 
computation and reckoning of revolving years, by tlie 
principal feafons, only helps us to mark the condant, 
though filent pafiage of time, which, like a flowing river, 
is bearing us all down into the ocean of eternity. Has 
any of us then a relation, friend, or child, to whofe eter- 
nal intereft; he defires, or fees it to be his duty to contri- 
bute ? let him be fpeedy and diligent, whether by inftruc- 
tion, admonition, example, or even prayer : you know not 
how iliort a time the opportunity may laft. By and by 
all thefe relations fhall be dilTolved. How many who 
were with us lall year, are now ileeping in the dufl ; their 
flate irrevocably fixed for eternity, either entered into red, 
and happy in their Redeemer's prefence, or referved in 
chains of darknefs, and looking forward, with defpair and 
terror, to the general judgment. No warning of the de- 
ceitfulnefs of fm there ; they know it, and feel it, in in- 
v/ard reproach, and evedailing felf-condemnation. No 
preaching of the gofpel there ; no hope of recovery, or 
place for repentance tliere : fo that we may juftly addrefs 
every hearer of the gofpel, in the words of the apofllc 
Paul, 2 Cor. vi. 1,2. " We then, as workers together 
*' with him, befeech you alfo, that you receive not the 
" grace of God in vain. For he faith, I have heard thee 
" in a time accepted, and in the day of falvation have I 
" fuccorcd thee : behold, now is the accepted time ; be- 
" hold, now is the day of falvation." 

I fhall only add, that the deceitfulnefs of fm, and the 
precarioufnefs of time, are confiderations which ferve 
greatly to (Irengthen one another. As time waftes, the 
fmner hardens ; not only is the feafon paffing awa)% but 
the work is becoming ftlll more difficult, and, at laft, as I 
have fhown before, in the courfe of nature, and by the ap- 
pointment of God, totally impoffible. It is the danger of 
a hardened ftate, that the apoftle urges; particularly in this 
paiTage, as the argument to diligence, But exhort one a- 
not her 'daily ^ while it is called to-day ; lest any of you be 
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. And, indeed» 
elfewhere, we are cautioned againfl delay, for the fame 
reafon. Thus, in Pfal. xcv. 7, 8, which is cited a few 



7 6 The Deceit/illness of Sin. 

verfes after the text, " — To-day, if ye will hear his voice, 
" harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in 
" the day of temptation in the wildernefs." 

3. Let us confider the manner in which this exhortati- 
on mufl be given, if we hope to do it with fuccefs. And, 
here, I mult acknowledge, there is fo great a variety of 
cafes, that it would be extremely difficult, or almoft im- 
poffible, di(lin<5lly, to enumerate them all, and give the 
diff;irent directions that are fuited to each ; there mull be 
a great difference in the manner, according to the end pro- 
pofed. Superiors of all forts, magiilrates, minifters, and 
lieads of families, m.ay, and ought to reprove, both with 
ituthority and leverity, becaufe the end is not iingjy the 
.reformation of an individual, but the prefervation of others, 
and the general good : nay, even private Chriftians may 
otten be called to reprove, in niuch the fame manner as a 
public telbmony of their abhorrence of fin : they may 
have it, chieily, in view, to fave or edify the by-llanders, 
by refuting the calumnies of an enemy, bearing down tri- 
umphant wickednefs, or difgracing an open fad:or for the 
devil. 

But as I reckon the pafTage of fcripture, which is the 
fubjedl: of my difcourfe, has an eye, chiefly, to brotherly 
admonition, for the benefit of the perfon concerned, I 
fhall jult mention fome of the moll: important directions 
for doing it widi fuccefs. Thefe fhall be both negative 
and pofitive. 

if?:. You ought not to reprove at an uncertainty, upon 
bare rumor and fufpicion. This is what many people 
have done, and thereby have, in a great meafure, loit all 
tlie pains they have bellowed. Where men are reproved 
in the wrong place, or for what they either are not guilty 
of, or are much lefs guilty than is fuppofed, it often puts 
them upon fclf juUitication, and hardens them againfl all 
reproof for the time to come. 

2dly. It ought not to be done when die offending per- 
ion is in an ill temper to receive it. Though no time 
ought to be loft in doing what good we can to our neigh- 
bor, efpecially to the precious foul ; yet it is worfc than 
lofing time to attempt it, when he is in a difpofition to re- 



The Deceitfidncss of Sin. 77 

je£l it : for example, it is ufually improper prefently after 
the fin is committed, becaufe then the heat is not over, 
nor the uproar of the palTions and afFe£tions appeafed. 
Many a domeftic reproof is thrown away in this manner. 
Perhaps, a hufband comes home difordered in liquor, and 
his wife meets him with a furly countenance, and re- 
proachful language ; the offence is too recently taken by 
her to fpeak with meeknefs, and the provocation too re- 
cently given by him to hear v/ith patience : hence dif- 
fenfions and quarrels arife ; and, perhaps, he is hardened 
in his fm, by thinking he hath greater caufe to be difplea- 
led with his wife for the frowardnefs of her temper, than 
Ihe has to be difpleafed with him for his intemperance. 
On the other hand, it is not improbable, that, by waiting 
till the return of calmnefs and reflection, the fm may be 
fet in fuch a light, as to carry conviction to the confci- 
ence, and, by the bleffing of God, prove the means of re- 
formation. Many are the admirable remarks of Solomon 
on this and the like fubjeQs ; particularly, Prov. xv. 23. 
" A word fpoken in due feafon, how good is it !" 

3dly, We are not to reprove thofe whom we have rea- 
fon to believe to be fuch defperate wretches, that they 
would be but the more exafperated, and fui in the more 
daring manner, on account of the I'eproof. To thefe it 
would be no a6t of love and charity, as it would provoke 
them to difhonor God ftill more highly, and fo heap ftill 
heavier loads of wrath and vengeance on their own heads. 
It is a faying of Auguftine, one of the fathers : ' If we tliere- 
' fore abftain from admonilhing wicked men, becaufe the 
'- feafon does not fuffer it, or, we fear, they may become 
* worfe by it, that feems to be the counfel of charity/ 
And alas ! how many are there, who, when they are re- 
proved for their fuis, though very jultly, are prefently 
kindled into a rage, fall a blafpheming and railing at piet}', 
and all that profefs it, and feem more confirmed than 
ever in their hatred and oppofition to it. Therefore we 
are exprefsly warned of the danger of this by Solomon, 
Prov. ix. 7. " He that proveth a iborner, getteth to him- 
" felf fiiame ; and he that rebuketh a wicked man, get- 
" teth himfelf a blot." And, to the fame purpofc, our blef- 



78 l^he Deceitfulness of Sin. 

fed Saviour, jNIatt. vii. 6. " Give not that which is holy 
*•*■ unto the dogs, neither cafi: ye your pearls before I'wine, 
*' left they trample them under their feet, and turn again 
**■ and rend you." On the other hand, politively, when 
reproof or exhortation are adininillered, 

if}:, It fliould be made appear, as much as poflTible, to 
flow from love and afFeclion as its principle. It is plain 
that this ought to be its principle, in order to its being a 
duty acceptable to God ; and there will be little hope of 
its fuccefs with men, unlels tliis apfiear to their convidi- 
cn. It would, indeed, be greater perfedlion to profit by 
the malicious inveftives of enemies ; but every body will 
allow, that is not ordinarily to be expected ; for this rea- 
lon, all oftentation and vain glory is carefully to be avoid- 
ed, and every thing that may look like only affecting fu- 
periority ; for the fame reafon, it ihould, in all ordinary 
cafes, be done in as fecret a manner as circumftances 
will })ermit it. The cafe of public offences, to be fure, 
muft be excepted ; concerning which we are told, " Them 
"^ that fm, rebuke before all, that others alio may fear." 
But, in uiher cafes, not only of private injury, but of pri- 
vate fins, the rule of our Saviour is to be obferved, JMatth. 
xviii. 15. " — If thy brother flmll trefpafs againft thee, go 
*" and tell hiui his fault between thee and him alone ; if 
*' he ihall hear thee, thou haft gained thy brother." I can- 
not hy all that might be faid on this fubje£l ; but nothing 
can be of greater importance, than, if poffible, to fliovv 
that it flows from love : for, w^here the offender is truly 
convinced of this, even though he fliould not be reformed, 
it is very feldom that he is difpleafcd. Therefore, 

2dly, As it ought to flow from love as the principle, ^o 
it ouglit to be condu(^ed with meeknefs in the fame man- 
ner. No railing or reviling expreffions, which will look 
Tike the wounds of an enemy, to deftroy, and not the balm 
of a phyfician, to cure. Therefore the Apoftle gives us ad- 
vice, in the following terms, Gal. vi. i. " Brethren, if a 
'■^ man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are fpiritual, re- 
*' ftore fuch an one in the fpirit of meeknefs : confideiing 
" thyfelf, left thou alfo be tempted," This laft expreffion 
gives an inimiiablc beauty to the apoftolic counfel. Our 



^he Deceitfulnsss of Sin. 79 

own fins fliould fill us witli comprifiion as much as refer.t- 
ment againfi: Tinners, and ihould make us take the fame 
gentle methods with others that we wculd vviili to be taken 
with ourfelves, if we were in their condition. We are of 
the fame nature, liable to the fame temptations, and, if 
left of God, may eafily fall into the fame mifcarriagcs. 
Befides, as it is mod fuitable to our (late and chara£ler, io 
it is moft likely to have a proper eflect. Meek and gentle 
admonitions will penetrate the heart, when rough and 
clamorous reproofs will be rejedled and defpifed. Thus 
Solomon fiys, Prov. xxv. 15, " By long forbearing is a 
*' prince perfuaded, and a foft tongue breaketh the bone." 
And, Chap. xv. i, " A foft anfwer turneth away wrath, 
*' but grievous words llir up anger." 

3dly, Reproof fhould be given with fome degree of zeal 
as well as meeknefs ; we fliould avoid the extreme of re- 
miifnefs as well as feverity. A llight carelefs reproof is 
often vvorfe than none ; for it is ready to m.ake the offen- 
der think lightly of his own offence. There muf^, there- 
fore, be fuch evident weight and concern of fpirit, as may 
ferve to evidence as well his danger as your own love. 
For this reafon, I beg leave to obferve, that fpeaking ia 
a way of jeft, and merriment, on fins of an atrocious na- 
ture is deeply criminal, and highly pernicious. Solomon 
tells us, " Fools make a mock at fm." Though a turn 
to raillery and pleafantnefs of temper is reckoned a very 
harmlefs as well as agreeable difpofition ; yet great care 
ought to be taken of the lub]e6ts on which it is exercifed. 
It is only fmaller weaknefles that ought to be treated in 
this manner. Sins againll God fliould be treated with a 
gravity and ferioufnefs from the importance of their na- 
ture and effeds. I fhall give an inflance of this. Swear- 
ing, and taking the name of God in vain, is fometimes 
ridiculed, inflead of being reproved. This feldom has 
a good effect. The crime is of fo atrocious a nature, and 
fo direct an aifault upon the majefly of God, that it ought 
not to be treated lightly, as only a fmall indecorum, or 
breach of good manners. It ought, indeed, to be defpiled 
for its folly ; but at the fame time it ought to be deeply 
abhorred for its guilt. 



8o The Dece'i tf Illness of Sin. 

4ihly, In the lafl place, In admonifliing one another 
for particular fins, we fhould flill keep in view the fource 
of all fm, a polluted nature ; and the great danger of the 
finner, as in a finful ftate. Though particular mifcar- 
riages may give the occafion, it is of fmall moment to 
convince them of the folly of fuch or fuch a pra6:ice, un- 
lefs you point out to them the neceifity of repentance, in 
general, upon evangelical principles. I have rarely feen 
that any arguments were fufiicient to reform a fmner of 
any particular fault he was once addicled to, but thofe 
drawn from eternity, and the awful eflecls of the difplea- 
fure of a holy God. Prefent inconveniencies, however 
great, foon lofe their effcd, and are quite unequal to com- 
bat a vicious inclination, or wreftle with the power of 
habit. But, though it were otherwife, what a fmall matter 
is it to cure a man of being a drunkard, or a fwearer, or a 
whoremonger, if flill you leave him a flave to fui, upon 
the whole, a fervant of the devil, and an heir of hell ? It 
is plainly with a view to the final confequences of fm, that 
the Apoftle recommends mutual exhortation in this paf- 
fage. Exhort one another daily, while it is called, to-day ; 
lest any of you be hardened through the dcceitfulness of sin. 
Would you, therefore, admonifli any perfon to his real 
profit? make ufe of particulars, to convince him of the 
evil of all fin, as fuch, and its power and influence over 
him by nature. When you reprove him for any fault he 
has committed, fliew him the deceitfulnefs of fin, and 
where, if he do not fpeedily flop, he will be landed at laft. 
Let his eternal ftate be the motive that urges you to the 
duty, and let the fame great confideration be made ufe of 
to carry home the inftru61ion with power and efficacy upon 
his heart. 

5thly, In the laft place, Let thofe ^ho would acquit 
themfelves of this duty, in a proper manner, be particu- 
larly watchful and circumfpedl in their own conduct. It 
is evident, that notliing can be more unfuitable, than for 
thofe, who take upon them to admonifh others, to be 
grofsly and vifibly blameable themfelves. It is, indeed, 
fo intolerable, that nobody can bear their inftrudlions with 
]x\tience. You know, from daily experience, that recri- 



The Deceitfulness of Si?i. 8 r 

minatlon Is the firft thing to which thofe who are repre- 
hended betake themfelves. The moment they are chal- 
lenged, the reply is ready, Why, you yourfcU, do fo and 
fo, or, perhaps, worfe. So prone are they to this, that 
many times they will upbraid men with innocent or lawful 
things, as if they were faults, to cover their own guilty 
practice. Now, if this is the cafe, how much more hurt- 
ful mufi: it be for thofe, who reprove others, to be reailv 
liable to juft accufation themfelves, and, perhaps upon 
the fame fubjed ? Therefore our Saviour fays, with the 
greateft ftrength and propriety, Luke vi. 41, 42, " And 
*' why beholdeft thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, 
*' but perceive!!: not the beam that is in thine own eye ? 
" Either, how canfb thou fay to thy brother, Brother, let 
*' me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou, 
*' thyfelf, beholdell not the beam that is in thine own eye ? 
*' Thou hypocrite, caft out firfl the beam out of thine own 
•' eye, and then flialt thou fee clearly to pull out the mote 
*' that is in thy brother's eye ?" Perhaps, my brethren, 
fome of you are faying within yourfelves: Alas! you have 
now deftroyed the whole effeft of what has been urged, at 
fo great length, on the duty of mutual exhortation ; for 
where is the man that is without fm, to reprove his neigh- 
bor ? My brethren, no doubt we have all fuch failings 
as ought to make us do it with meeknefs and felf-denial ; 
yet furely we both may and ought to walk [o circumfpecl- 
ly, as not to be juflly liable to heavy accufations. Though 
there is no holding of intemperate tongues, yet, furely, 
there is fuch a thing as a converfation becoming the gof- 
pel, which will entitle the fervant of Chrifl to appear with 
fome meafure of courage in his mafter's caufe ; nay, and 
fuch an habitual love of mankind, as may fometimes open 
their ears to his falutary counfel. And, believe it, thofe 
who begin to make confcience of their duty to their neigh- 
bor, either in a family, or a wider fphere, will find its pow- 
erful and happy influence as a reftraint upon their own 
condu(5l. They will be naturally led to double their dili- 
gence, left their example fliould unhappily fruitrate the 

effedl of their reproofs. One particular more I muii 

add, that the next thing to being always in the right, is to • 
Vol. II. L 



82 l^he Deceitfulness of Sin. 

be humble, and ready to confefs when you have been in 
the wrong. This alio is a fcripture precept, James v. 16, 
" Confefs your faults one to another, and pray one for 
" another, that ye may be healed." I am perfuaded that 
few things would add greater weight to any perfon's ad- 
monitions, than his being willing to confefs, and ready 
to amend, any thing that was pointed out to him as blame- 
able in his own condudt. 

I come now, in the laft place, to make fome pra6lical 
application of what has been faid. And, 

1. From what has been faid, you may fee the great cor- 
ruption and depravity of our nature. I look upon it as 
of great moment to have a deep and growing conviction 
of this truth. It is the language of fcripture, it is the lan- 
guage of experience, and it is the parent of humility. I 
obferved, in the beginning of my difcourfe on this fubjeft, 
and it appears from every thing that has been faid upon 
it, that the deceitfulnefs of fin is but another expreffion for 
the treachery of the human heart. In vain would the ob- 
je6ls of fm appear before us; in vain would Satan and his 
emiffaries prefent their folicitations, if our own inclinati- 
on did not plead powerfully in their favor. To be deep- 
ly convinced of this, will lead to the exercife of penitence, 
and to felf denial, which is the bell mean of our fupport 
and prefervation. If the deceitfulnefs of fm lies chiefly 
in ourfelves, that man will guard againfl it in the mod ef- 
fectual manner, who has learned to fear himfelf as his 
own greated enemy. 

2. From what has been faid, let us be led to flri(5tncfs 
and frequency in felf-examination. If fin is fo deceitful, 
it may eafily lurk unobferved. Self-knowledge is a fludy 
of as great difficulty as importance. You have heard 
what artful difguifes fin puts on, and how dreadfully fome 
have been led aflray. The very befl duties may be pol- 
luted by finful motives, and the very word things may be 
done by an erring confcience, of which we may juflly fay, 
with our Saviour, Matth. vi. 23, " — If therefore the light 
*' that is in thee be darknefs, how great is that darknefs!" 
The old heathen precept, " Know thyfelf," was reckoned 



The Dece'itfuhiess of Sin. 83 

fo excellent a faying, that they fuppofed it to be a revela- 
tion from Heaven, And, in the holy Scriptures, we have 
many exhortations to felf-examination. I fhall only men- 
tion diat of the apoftle Paul, 2 Cor. xiii. 5. " Examine 
" yourfelves, whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own 
" felves : know ye not your own felves, how that Jefus 
" Chrlfl: is in you, except ye be reprobates ?" Nay, af- 
ter all our pains to examine ourfelves, there ought to re- 
main fuch a fufpicion of our own treachery, as fliould 
make us intreat, humbly and earneftly, the more impartial 
trial of a heart-fearching God, Pfal. xix. 12. "Who can 
*' under (land his errors ? Clean fe thou me from fecret 
" faults." Pfal. cxxxix. 23, 24. " Search me, O God ! 
*' and know my heart : try me, and know my thoughts : 
*' and fee if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me 
" in the way everlafling." 

3. From what hath been faid, let me befeech all, but 
efpecially young perfons, to beware of the beginnings of 
fm. It may be faid of fm, in general, as Solomon fays of 
flrife, "the beginning of it is like the letting out of water." 
Beware of all that difcourfe which tends to give you flight 
thoughts of any fm. Sometimes men confider fins as 
fmall fms, and therefore tolerable. Many parents have 
thought it wrong to check their children for the follies and 
levities of youth, and have found, to their melancholy ex- 
perience, that when follies had been fuffered to ripen into 
crimes, they had taken too deep hold to be rooted up. 
Many make light of fm by comparifon. How common 
is the pretence of the drunkards : We are harming nobo- 
dy ; we are not fpeaking ill of our neighbors ; we are not 
opprelTmg the poor. In the mean time, they are foon led 
to curfmg and blafphemy ; and, perhaps, by their riotous 
living, they are unable to pay their juft debts, rob the in- 
duftrious poor of their right, and, for the indulgence of a 
beaftly appetite, bring their own offspring to beggary and 
ruin. Such is the behavior of many of your harmlefs 
people ; men of fecial friendly difpofitions, that, if you 
believe them, would not v/rong their neighbor of a farthing 
to their knowledge ; and yet it would be happy for any 
man to fall into the hands of highway robbers, rather than 



84 The De ceitf Illness of Sin. 

into their fociety. How fhort-fighted men are ! they not 
only forget to look forward to the other world, but look 
not even to any diilance in this. From time to time we 
are made fools by fin, which never afks more of us than 
the prefent compliance ; yet, if this is granted, never 
leaves us till our (late is irrecoverable. What reafon have 
all to be afraid of that deplorable hardnefs of heart which 
is the confequence of the continued indulgence of fin. Let 
us never confider any fin by itfelf, but together with that 
ugly train which it draws behind it ; and, then, though 
our falfe hearts might plead for the indulgence of a fingle 
luil, they may not be fo willing to fubmit to that deluge 
of vice v.'hich follows fafl: at its heels. 

4. In the lall place, I fliall clofe the fubjedl-, by addrefi"- 
jng an exhortation to thofe of my hearers, w ho have been 
long and hardened finners ; who have manv habits of vice 
cleaving to them ; who have hitherto defpiied the gofpel, 
and even fat in the feat of the fcornful. No doubt, you 
have heard, in vain, and, perhaps, with contempt, many 
exhortations of this kind before ; and therefore, there is, 
humanly fpeaking, but little hope, that any thing I can 
fay will have the efiedl:. However, as our blefled and gra- 
cious Mafler has commanded his gofpel to be preached to 
every creature, this Prince of the kings of the earth is 
able, by his Spirit accompanying the word, to lay the 
proudtll and the boldeft of his enemies profirate at his 
feet ; let me befeech you, in his name, to hear, that your 
fouls may live. Why will you longer continue at enmity 
u'ith him, while he is offering you mercy ? Nay, he is 
treating you with mercy in every inftance of his kind pro- 
vidence, in the renewed meffages ofhisblefied word, and 
in his (lying agonies on the accurfed tree ! Have you been 
long wedded to fin ? he is able to fct you free ; he came 
to deRroy the woiks of the devil, and is able to knock off 
the flrongell fetters, and refiore liberty to the moll forrow- 
ful captive. " We, then, as workers together with him,. 
*"• befeech you alfo, that ye receive not the grace of God in 
*■' vain." Remember, on the other hand, I befeech you, 
the dreadful vengeance that awaits the defpifers of the gof- 
pel, If you Hill refufe the gracious offer ; if you will not 



The Deceitfiilness of Sin. 85 

fuffer his mercy to be glorified in your recover}'-, his holi- 
nefs, power, and juftice, fhall be illuftrated in your perdi- 
tion. Time is haftening away ; judgment is haftening 
on ; no refufing to appear at that bar ; no deceiving or 
biaffing that judge ; no room to efcape ; no fource of con- 
folation under that fentence. How infupportable the re- 
flexion on opportunity irrecoverably loft ! And how ter- 
rible the fan6tion which follows upon the offer of mercy ! 

You may read it, Prov. i. 24, 31. " Becaufe I have 

" called, and ye refufed, I have ftretched out my hand, 
" and no man regarded : but ye have fet at nought all my 
" counfel, and would none of my reproof: I alio will 
*' laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear 
*' cometh. When your fear cometh as defolation, and 
" your deflruclion cometh as a whirlwind ; when diflrel's 
" and anguifh cometh upon you. Then fhall they call 
" upon me, but I will not anfwer ; they fhall feek me 
*' early, but they lliall not find me : for that they hated 
" knowledge, and did not chufe the fear of the Lord. They 
*' would none of my counfel ; they defpifed all my re- 
*' proof: therefore fhall they eat of the fruit of their own 
*' way, and be filled with their own devices." 

I only add, if any impreffion is made on your minds, of 
the importance of eternity, fuffer it to abide there. Let 
it have an immediate effect. Of all the deceits of fin or 
Satan, none more fatal than that of putting off convidlions 
to a more convenient feafon. I conclude, therefore, with 
the v/ords of Solomon, Ecclef. ix. 10. " Whatfoever thy 
" hand findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for there is 
*' no work, nor device, nor knov/ledge, nor wifdom, in 
" the grave whither thou goefl." Amen, 



C 87 ] 



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Thk EFXIEVER GOI^^G to GOD as his EXCEEDING JOY. 

SERMON 20. 



PSALM xllii. 4. 
T/if/z rwV/ 1 go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding 

IT is of great moment to attend to the proper mlMtiire 
of reverence and love which ought to pofTefs our beans 
in the vvoi fliip of the living God. If they arife from proper 
principles, they will not dellroy or weaken, but ftrength- 
en one another, A believer can never lye too low in the 
dull before the mod: holy God ; he can never be too fen- 
fible either of his diftance as a creature, or his guilt and 
imworthinefs as a fmner : but, at the fame time, he can 
never be too deeply penetrated with a fenfe of divine love, 
or have too (Irong and ardent defires after communion and 
fellowfliip with God. The truth is, the lower we are in 
our own light, it doth but the more illuftrate and magnify- 
all the grace that is lliewn to us in the gofpel : and the 
more joyfully we contemplate the fulnefs of our portion 
in an infinite God, it will but the more bring back this 
refledion, and conflrain us to confefs, that we are lefs than 
the lead of all his mercies. 

In feveral paffages of the Pfalms of David, v/e have very 
warm and fervent expreffions of the delight which tiie 
tnan after God's own heart had in the worfliip of his fiinc- 



88 The BeUeijer going to God 

tuary- There are few of thefe more beautiful and forci- 
ble than the palFage of which my text is a part, " () fend 
*' out thy light and thy truth ; let them lead me ; let them 
" bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. 
*' Then ivill I go unto the altar of God ^ unto God my ex- 
" ceed'ing joy."*' That which feems to have brought the 
Pf;\imilt to this firiking and beautiful thought, was, his 
being under the preilure of heavy affliclion ; and, particu- 
larly, in a ftate of diflance and banilhment from the tem- 
ple fervice. This led him to flee for refuge to God, his 
almighty friend and unchangeable portion- Did the Pfal- 
mill then go to God as his confolation in dillrefs ? What 
reafon is there for every Chrillian to go to him as his 
Father and his God, not only for fupport under the vari- 
ous trials of this mortal (late, but for happinefs and peace 
after he hath feen and felt the inherent vanity of every 
created enjoyment ? 

All 1 fliall further add upon the words is, that what 
David is here praying for, is to be brought to the temple 
of God, to have accefs to his courts, and communion with 
him there. This he plainly looks upon as a fource of ex- 
ceeding joy; and, furely, to thofe v;ho are duly dilpofed 
for it, there is not, there cannot be, in this world, a more 
delightful employment than the joint celebration of our 
Creator and Redeemer's praife ; than the united voice of 
his fervants in his temple. It is the nearell approach we 
can make to the employment of heaven, and the mod fen- 
fible forctalte we can have of its happinefs in this foreign 
land. 

But, my brethren, I mufl limit the fubjed to what is 
the particular and diiUnguifliing employment of this day, 
— the holy ordinance of the Lord's I'uj^per, commemora- 
ting our Redeemer's dying lov^e. This u as called by the 
ancients the Eucharist, or Sacrifice of Praise. And, in- 
deed, no difpofition is more proper or neceflary, in at- 
tending upon it, than a joyful and thanki'ul frame of fpirit. 
Tliis will be like a precious perfume, wtnch will fill the 
houfe with its fragrance, and will greatly ilrengthen every 
other gracious difpofition ; and, therefore, my intention is, 
through the afliftance of divine grace, 



as k'ls E:s>cced'ing Jvy, 89 

I. To fliew you what matter of joy and fatisfaflion there 
is to every fincere Chriilian, in what is reprefented to oar 
view in the facrament of the Lord's fupper ; or, for what 
reafons we ought, in this folemn fervice in a particular 
manner, to go to God as our exceeding joy. 

Having done fo, I Ihall make fome prailical improve- 
ment of the fubje6l for your inlfruftion and direction. 

In the firfl place, then, I am to fhew you u'hat matter 
of joy and fatisfadion there is to every fmcere Chriilian, in 
what is reprefented to our view in the facrament of the 
Lord's fupper ; or for what reafons we ought in this fo- 
lemn fervice, in a particular manner, to go to God as our 
exceeding joy. I am deeply fenfible, my brethren, that I 
have entered on a IdSk to which I am very unequal, to 
raife your minds to that fublime temper, of joy in God, 
and to difclofe that fountain of joy there is to every be- 
liever, in what his Redeemer has done, and is ftill doing 
for him. It is fo great a fubjeft, that we ourfelves may 
fee how unfit a mortal tongue is to fpeak of it : and there- 
fore, I fhall, in the entry, pray " that God niay flied 
" abroad his love in our hearts ; that he may fend forth 
*' his light and his truth, that they may be guides to us." 
and accompany the word fpoken with the powerful energy 
of the fpirit of confolation. But a little of that real com- 
munion with God which is the work of his Spirit, and 
which he fometimes vouchfafes to his people, will give 
them fuch a lively fenfe of his love and joy in him, as 
they themfelves know may be felt, but cannot be expref- 
fed : and I cannot forbear already obferving to you, that 
the meanefl; real Chriflian fhall, one day, in the higher 
houfe, have fuch a fulnefs of joy, and fuch conceptions of 
God and his Redeemer's love, that he iliall look down, 
with wonder, at the weak and imperfedl ftretches of our 
imagination after it now. But fo long as we are here, let 
us patiently content ourfelves with what is given us as 
necelfary to fupport our weary fleps in this defolate wil- 
dernefs ; with what this ordinance, inftituted for enliven- 
ing our faith, fupplies us for our comfort and joy. 

Vol. IL M 



90^ The Belie^cef going to God 

For this purpofe, let me beg your attention to the fol- 
lowing conFiderations. 

I. You ought to ^o to God, hi this ordinance, as your 
exceeding joy ^ becaufe, in it, you have the fullefl: alTurance 
and the cleareft evidence ol' the ibrgivenefs of your fins, 
and peace with your offended Maker. This is the preli- 
minary mercy, which, with refpeft to fallen creatures, 
mull open the way to every other blefling. Nothing fo 
much damps our joy in God, and leflens our fatisfaftion 
in addreffing him, as confcioufnefs of guilt. This it is 
that makes rehgion fo unpleafant to the carnal worldling ; 
even the fecure finner, who feems to walk without fear, is 
yet deterred by natural confcience from drawing near to 
God. He does all in his power to rid his mind of the 
thoughts of God's ordinary and condant prefence with 
him in every place. A horror of his Maker pofleffes his 
mind at all times ; he cannot love him as a gracious Fa- 
ther, becaufc he hates hini as an enemy, and fears him as 
a righteous judge. Nay, the fame thing it is that makes 
us all feel fo frequently an averfion at the duties of religi- 
on. The cold hand of a fpirit of bondage freezes up the 
affedlions. Trembling and fear taketh hold upon us. An 
inward dread and jealoufy of our own ftate throws a gloofn 
and darknefs, as it were, through the temple of God. And, 
with whatever ftrength or beauty the promifes or privi- 
leges of the faints may be fet forth, there is a fecret re- 
flraint upon us, and as a voice difcharging us from touch- 
ing them, as forbidden fruit. Were we but as pure, and 
free from guilt, we fliould, with as much joy and fatisfac- 
tion, draw nigh to God, as the angels do in Heaven. 

I have been the more full in opening this to you, that 
you niay fee the foundation there is in nature, and in fadl, 
for the leading do£trine of the gofpel, " Chrifl Jefus fet 
" forth as a propitiation for fins, through faith in his 
*' blood." 

His blefied body was broken, and his precious blood 
was flied, for the remiflion of fins. Are you to comme. 
morate this? are you to receive the vifible figns and the 
appointed feals of it : does not this aOure you, that your 
fins are forgiven for ChjilVs fake r Arc your fins very 



^ as his Exceeding Joy. 91, 

areat ? are they many in number, and heinous in their 
aggravations ? Confider the infinite value of this facred 
blood. It was no lels than that of the eternal Son of God, 
who chearfully undertook our caufe : " and the Lord laid 
*' on him the iniquity of us all." Ifa. liii. 5. " He was 
*^ wounded for our trajifgreflions, he was bruifed for our 
*' iniquities ; the chailifementofour peace was upon him; 
** and with his llripes we are healed." O unfcarchuble 
rnyilery ! O the infinite holinefs of God ! O the trenien- 
dous jullice of God ! How well may the exhortation be 
prefTcd, Ifa. i. 18. " Come now, and let us realbn toge- 
*' ther, faith the Lord : though your fins be as fcarlet, they 
*' lliall be as white as fnow ; though they be red like crim- 
" fon, they ftiall be as wool." Well may we fay with the 
apoftlePaul, i Tim. i. 15. " This is a faithful faying, and 
*' worthy of all acceptation, that Chrift Jefus came into 
" the world, to fave finners, of whom I am chief. " Are 
you afraid of the condemning fentence of the law. Gal. 
iii. 13. " Chrift hath redeemed us from the curfe of the 
*' law, being made a curfe for us." Are you afhamed to 
appear before God in your own undeferving character, 
hear, and comply with your Saviour's own counfel, Rev'. 
iii. 18. '' I counfel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, 
*' that thou mayeil be rich, and white raiment that thou 
" mayeft be clothed, and that the Ihame of thy nakednefs 
" do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-falve, 
" that thou mayeft fee." In the fpotlefs robes of your Re- 
deemer's righteoufnefs, you fhall be adorned for the courts 
of your God, and dwell in his prefence. Are you afraid 
to apply all this to yourfelves ? This is the exprefs pur- 
pofe of the facrament of the Lord's fupper, to confirm and 
clofe the covenant of peace with every partaker. Do you 
doubt the fincerity of the offer upon God's part ? See him 
difpenfing the healing medicine, " This is my body, which 
*' V7as broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. 
" As often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye 
" do ftiew the Lord's death till he come." Hear him iky- 
ing, Matth. xi. 28. '' Come unto me, all ye that labor, 
** and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft." Hear 
him further faying, John vi. 37- ;' Him that ccmeth to 



g2 The Miever going to God 

*'• me, I will in no wife cafi: out." Ifa. Iv. i. *' Ho, every 
*' one that thirfteth, come ye to the waters; and he that 
*' hath no money, come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come buy 
'• wine and nVdk, without money, and without price.'* 
Rev. xxii. 17. " And the Spirit and the bride fay, Come ; 
" and let him that heareth fay, Come; and let him that 
" is athirfl:, come. And whofoever will, let him take 
" the v/ater of life freely." All who have truly groaned 
under a icnk of guilt may here fee their pardon fealed, and 
may and ought to rejoice in it, as theirs ; and, unlefs they 
doubt the faithful nefs of God's word, or the efficacy of 
their Saviour's merit, may triumph in both, and fet at de- 
fiance the thunders of the law, the reproaches of confci- 
ence, and the accufations of the devil. They may fay* 
with the apoftle Paul, Rom. viii. 33, 34, " Who lliall lay 
" any thing to the charge of God's ele6l ? It is God that 
" juflifieth : who is he that condemneth ? - It is Chrift 
*' that died, yea rather, that is rifen again, who is even 
*' at the right hand of God, who alfo maketh interceffion 
" for us." 

2. You ought to go to God in this ordinance, as your 
exceeding joy, as it affords the llrongeil and mod illullri- 
ous proof of divine love. This, my brethren, is the imme- 
diate fubjedl of our contemplation in the Lord's fupper ; 
and I chufe to confider it as an argument by itfelf, fepa- 
rately from its fruits, becaufe nothing ferves more to heigh- 
ten our affe6lion to, and delight in God, than a firm per- 
fuafion of his love to us. Is it a comfortable thing to have 
the pardon of our fins ? It is alfo unfpeakably refrefhing, 
and even raviihing, to view, in faith, the wonderful 
means by which it is accompliflied. We may confider, 
fhorlly here, the riches of redeeming grace, as extending 
to the linners of Adam's race in general ; and then what 
it is for every believer to confider himfelf as the determi- 
nate obje£t of divine regard in the councils of peace. The 
whole jicrfedions of an infinite God fliine with united 
luflre in the work of redemption. His power, wifdom, 
holinefs, and jullice, are feverally and jointly ilhillrated 
in it. His unfearchable wildoin is mentioned, Rom. xi. 
33. " O the depth of the riches both of the wifdom and 



as his Exceeding Joy. 53 

" knowledge of God ! How unfearchable are his judg- 
" ments, and his ways pall finding out !" His mighty 
power, Eph. i. 19. " And what is the exceeding great- 
" nefs of his power to us-ward, who believe, according to 
'* the working of his mighty power.'* The righteoufnefs 
of his government, Rom. iii. 26. "■ To declare, I iay, at 
" this time, his righteoufnefs, that he might be juft, and 
"- the juflifier of him which believeth in jefus.'' But 
love is mod confpicuous of all : and is therefore mod fre- 
quently infifted on, John iii. 16. " God fo loved the world, 
" that he gave his only begotten Son, that Vv^hofoever be- 
"• lieveth in him, fliould not perifti, but have everlafling 
" life." Rom. v. 8. " God commendeth his love towards 
" us, m that while we were yet finners, Chrifl: died for 
" us." Eph. iii. 17, 18, 19. " That Chrill may dwell in 
" your hearts by faith ; that ye being rooted and ground- 
" ed in love, may be able to comprehend, with all faints, 
" what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, 
*' and to know the love of Chrill, which palfeth know- 
" ledge." And indeed, my brethren, it palTeth the pow- 
er of man to open fully the greatnefs of the love of God 
to finners in Chrill Jefus. It is a fubjedl which we are fo 
far from being able now to exhaull, that it lliall afford mat- 
ter for adoring inquiry to all eternity, whilll the everlaft- 
ing God lives and reigns with his faints, and unfolds to 
them, age after age, more ample views of his goodnefs 
and greatnefs. By what fhall we meafure the love of a 
friend, but by the greatnefs of his gifts ? What fentiment 
then fhall we entertain of the love of God for his (jullly 
ftyled) unfpeakable gift ? He has given us his only be- 
gotten Son, "who was from eternity in the bofom of the 
" Father ; the brightnefs of his Father's glory, and the ex- 
*' prefs image of his perfon;" the bed and greated of crea- 
ted beings, nay, the whole creation itfelf, had been no- 
thing compared to it. 

The truth is, I am ready to think that there feems to be 
fomething like divine contrivance, and infinite defign, in 
this particular circumdance. All created things are in 
themfelves equal, and alike eafy, to the power of God, 
being but the effe61.s of his limple will. For this reafon 



94 T^^ Belie'uer going to God 

there could be no comparative greatnefs in any fuch gifts. 
There was therefore but this one way left to exprefs an 
uncommon degree of love, that he who was one and equal 
with the Father, fliould himfelf be employed in the me f- 
fage, and " bear our fms in his own body, on the tree." 
Nothing elfe could have made man an expenfive purchafe. 
Nothing elfe that God could bellow, would have had any 
appearance of doing violence to himfelf; or could give 
meaning and beauty to that exprcllion, Romans viii. 32. 
"• He that fpared not his own Son, but delivered him up 
" for us all, how (hall he not with him alio freely give us 
'*• all things :" The Lord of the vineyard, in the parable, 
is reprcfented as in fufpenfe, how to fall upon a method 
to break the ilubbornnefs of the hulbandmen, Luke xx. 13, 
"• Then faid the Lord of the vineyard, what fliall I do ? I 
*' will fend my beloved Son, it may be they will reverence 
" him when they fee him." Let us paraphrafe and ap- 
ply it. God, who bears the perfon of the mailer of the 
vineyard, may be fuppofed to fay, what fliall reclaim thefe 
obflinate children of mercy, become rebels? Nothing but 
the invincible force of fuperior love. But v/herein lliall 
the love of the eternal God appear to advantage r in no- 
thing but an eternal gift : they Hiall not be cheaply pur- 
chafed, they fhall be bought with blood, v/ith that facred 
blood, which fliall be the furprife of angels, and tlie won- 
der of heaven. Thefe refleclions I would make with re- 
verence, on this elevated and delightful, but av/ful and 
tremendous theme. One thing appears clearly from 
them, that it is not only obfcuring the ludre, not only 
weakening the force, but defiroying the very being of re- 
deeming love, to deny the proper and eternal Godhead of 
Chrift, the Mediator. But, Oh ! my brethren, what an 
improvement is it, to the contemplation of the love of 
God, for each of us to confider himfelf as having been 
from eternity the object of it. While I taile the ftreams 
of his bounty, may 1 thus trace it back to its fource ! Did 
he love me from tiie foundation of the world! Did he pity 
me, wlien in unprovoked rebellion againfl: him 1 Did he 
Tnake \'q gracious provifion for my recovery and falvation ! 
Did he maks atonement for my guilt, by the blood of his 



as his Exceeding Joy. 95 

own Son ! and conquer my heart hy the poxver of his fo- 
vereign grace ! What returns of praife and gratitude are 
his due ? With what joy ought I to remember my Re. 
deemer's death at his table, in the hope of Iharing with 
him his crown and his throne, in a higher ftate ? 

3. You ought io go to God^ in this ordinance, as your 
exceeding joy; as you have in it the cleareft and fullelt af- 
furance of receiving from him all that is neceffary for your 
comfort and happinefs, while you continue here. There 
are, in a ftrict fenfe, but tu'o ends of going to God in his 
worfhip and ordinances, to exprefs our fenfe of, and thank- 
fulnefs for favors received, and as beggars for more. Novi% 
my brethren, in this ordinance you are not only called to 
celebrate the love of a gracious and reconciled God, but to 
trufl: in the fulnefs of an all-fufficient God. That we may 
view this the more dlllinftly, there are thefe two kinds of 
bleflings we ftand in need of, thofe that relate to our fpi- 
ritual life, and thofe that relate to our temporal comfort. 

ill. Thofe that relate to the fpiritual life. What is the 
great defire of every real fervant of God in this houfe ? Is 
it not to have your hearts more inflamed with the love ot 
God, and more devoted to his fear ? Is not fin your great- 
eft burthen, and its remaining influence your greateft 
grief? Now, where can you have a more reafonable hope 
of getting your gracious difpofitions ftrengthened, or your 
fins mortified, than at a communion table ? Is it not 
exprefsly defigned for your fpiritual nourifhment, and 
growth in grace? And as the inftitutionof thefe fenfible 
figns is a remarkable proof of divine condefcenfion, fo I 
can hardly conceive any tiling more wifely and happily 
calculated' for this excellent end. What can more ilrength- 
en your faith in a dying Saviour, than being allowed to 
look upon the figns of his broken body, and his blood 
poured out ? What can fpeak greater peace to the con- 
fcience, than your being allowed and invited to receive 
him explicitly ? '' This is my body, broken for you.'* 
What can more happily ferve to kindle and inflame your 
love to God, than the immediate contemplation of his 
infinite love for you ? Where can you take fuch a hate- 
ful view of fin, as a dctefied objed, as at the Lord's table, 



96 The BelicDer going to God 

where you fee it in j^our Saviour's fufterings? Where and 
how can you lay luch a bond upon the confcience, as by 
receiving the feals of this facred engagement ? How can 
you give fuch a deadly wound to your flrongeft lufts, as 
by nailing and affixing them to your Redeemer's crofs ? 
What motive of future obedience equal to bearing about in 
your bodies the dying of the Lord Jefus ? See what the 
apoRle fays, 2 Cor. v. 14. " For the love of Chrift con- 
*' llraineth us, becaufe we thus judge, that if one died for 
'' all, then were all dead." Gal, ii. 20. " I am crucified 
" with Chrift : neverthelefs I live ; yet not I, but Chrifl 
" liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the flefli, 
*' I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, 
*' and gave himfelf for me." What remedy can you find 
for your own weaknefs, like the all-fufficiency of Chrifl ? 
Col. ii. 9. "For in him dvvelleth all the fulnefs of the God- 
" head bodily." i Cor. i. 3c. " Of him are ye in Chrill 
" Jefus, who of God is made unto us wifdom, and righie- 
" oufnefs, and fanftification, and redemption." 1 will 
not fo widely handle the fubjeft as to cite to you all the 
paffages which {how that the fpirit of fanilification is a 
part of the purchafe of your Redeemer, and one of his gifts 
to thofe who humbly implore it. Is it not well knowa, 
and do not believers at his table, ftnfible of their own 
weaknefs, and confident of their Saviour's power, get 
their feet upon die necks of their enemies, and fay, " I 
'' can do all things through Chrill ftrengthening me." 

2cl. They have here all things neceffary for their tem- 
poral comfort. They have a complete remedy for their 
cares, as well as their fins. As at the Lord's table you lay 
hold of the covenant of peace, fo there, if any where, you 
may fee, that it is ordered in all things, and fure ; your 
food and raiment, and all necefiTary provifion, is contained 
in it ; and Chrifi:'s body is the pledge. How gracious the 
promife ! your heavenly Father knoweth that you have 
need of thefe things, Plal. xxxiv. 8, 9, 10. " O tafte and 
** fee that the Lord is good ! Blefled is the man that truil- 
** eth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his faints ! for there 
*' is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do 
'' luck, and fufler hunger ; but they that feek the Lord, 



as his Exceeding Joy. 97 

" (liall not want any good thing." Ifa. xxxlii. 16. " He 
" fhall dwell on high ; his place of defence fhali be the 
" munitions of rocks ; bread fhall be given him, his water 
" fhall be fure." Deliverance from fufFering is contained 
in it, Pfal. xxxiv. 19. " Many are the aitiiaions of the 
** righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." 
Strength and grace to funer with patience is contained in 
it, Ifa. xliii. 2. " When thou palTefl through the waterc, 
** I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they fhall 
" not overflow thee ; when thou walked through the fire, 
" thou fhalt not be burnt, neither fhall the flame kindle 
** upon thee." The fanftified ufe and improvement of 
fuffering is contained in it, Rom. viii. 28. " And we 
" know that all things work together for good to them that 
" love God, to them who are the called according to his 
*' purpofe." 2 Cor. iv. 16. " For which caufe we faint 
** not; but though our outward man perifli, yet the invrard 
" man is renewed day by day." Confider, efpecially, 
that at the Lord's table you have an immediate view of the 
great foundation of reliance on divine Providence, Rom. 
viii. 32. "He that fpared not own Son, but delivered 
" him up for us all, how fhall he not with him alfo freely 
give us all things r" 2. That God, who was fo lavifli of his 
love, as not to fpare even his own Son, but gave him up to 
be defpifed, buffeted, and crucified for you, will not be fo 
inconfiftentl/ hard, as to refufe the fmall gift in compari- 
fon of a little earthly good. He whofe foul was redeemed 
by the blood of Chrifl fliall not lofe his body for a litde 
bread. 

I cannot helpobferving, here, of whatuniverfal ufe and 
benefit the doctrine of Chrifl: crucified is, and hov/ high a 
place it ought to hold in our efteem. It is not only nfeful 
for afTuring us of the pardon of fin, but makes us fuperior 
to all thofe fufFerings, of every kind, v/hich took their rile 
from fin. The path of a Chriftian is fometimes thorny 
and difficult ; and many of the weaker order of faints have 
even a greater fenfibility of the inconveniencies of life than 
fome thoughtlefs finners. Thefe laft maintain a fort of 
buftle and contefi: for worldly pleafure, and, with a fiurdy 
felf-fuf£ciency, can, if I mav fpeak fo, return the blo'.vs 

Vol. n. K 



98 yZr Believer going to God 

and buffets of adverfe fortune, while the feeble of Chrifl'S 
flock become funk and heartlefs under a frowning Provi- 
dence. But is not the Lord's table a place of refuge : and 
is it not matter of experience, that they have found con- 
folation there ? Whatever their complaints have been, 
whether of ficknefs, or povert}^ or lofs of relations, or the 
{landers of their enemies, they have adored the fovereign 
will of God in them all ; they have been brought to a pla- 
cid fubmiflion to his providence in them all ; nay, they 
have happily feen and confeffed his wife and merciful pur- 
pofe in them all. It was not without a view to his trials, 
that the Pfalmift, in the text, defires to ^0 ufito the altar of 
God^ unto God his exceeding joy. And you may fee how 
he exprefles himfelf in the following verfe, " Why art 
" thou call down, O my foul ! and why art thou difquiet- 
*' ed within me ! hope in God ; for I fliall praife him, 
" who is the health of my countenance, and my God !" 

4th. I come, now,' in the lafl place, to obferve, that this 
ordinance is a fource of joy, as it is a pledge and earnelt 
of heaven ; a foretaile of that eternal happinefs which God 
Iiath prepared for his faithful fervants in the world to come. 
This, my brethren, ought never to be out of our view while 
we fojourn in this valley of tears. 

This eternal joy is what our Redeemer has given us the 
fulleil afl'urance of. It is he who hath drawn afide the cur- 
tain, and opened to us a joyful profpeft into the holy of 
l.olies, into the blefied manlions of perfedion, purity, and 
happinefs within the vail. In one of his lad difcourfes to 
his difciples, when he was about to leave them, he tells 
them, it was to be but a fliort feparation ; for that he 
would come again, and carry them with him ; and that 
they fliould nevermore be divided, John xiv. 2. "In my 
" father's houfe are many manfions ; if it were not fo, I 
" \A ould have told you : I go to prepare a place for you ;" 
and not only hath he left the promife of his return, but 
hath inflituted this ordinance, on the one hand, to keep up 
the memory of his former appearance; and, on the other, 
to kecj) up our hopes of his fecond coming, and what he 
will then bedow, i Cor. xi. 23. " As often as ye eat this 
*' bread, and drink this cup, ye do Ihevv the Lord's death 



as his Exceeding Joy. 99 

*' till he come." It is intended to fupport the languilliing 
faith of his people, and make them tread, with conftancy, 
in his ilrength, the fame paths of virtue and felf-denial 
that he did, in hopes of Ihortly fharing his crown and re- 
ward, Heb. xii. 1,2. " -And let us run with patience 

" the race that is fet before us ; looking unto Jefus, the 
*' author and finifher of our faith ; who, for the joy that 
" was fet before him, endured the crofs, defpifuig the 
" fhame, and is fet down at the right hand of the throne 
" of God.'* And how highly proper is this inflitution for 
pointing us to the glorious iffue of our Chriilian confliil ? 
In it, we have, at once, a proof of the certainty — of the 
excellence, — and even fome perception of the nature ot 
heavenly glory. 

How certain and infallible is that happinefs to the faints, 
which our exalted Redeemer, the Amen and faithfidlVit- 
ness^ hath paffed his word for, and gone before, in our 
name, to take pofTeflion of? Heb. vi. 19, 20. "Which 
" hope we have as an anchor of the foul, both fure and 
" ftedfafl, and which entereth into that within the vail, 
" whither the forerunner is for us entered." — 1 Cor. xv. 
2;j. " But every man in his own order, Chrift, the firil 
" fruits, afterward they that are Chrill's, at his coming.'* 
However high an hope it may feem for fuch as we are, 
to afpire to a flation fo near the throne of God, to his pre- 
fence and fellowfliip ; yet it is not too much, after what 
is already bellowed upon us ; after what Chrift hath done, 
it can beget no furprife, that this fliould be the conclufiou 
of it ; after he hath borne our fins in his own body, and 
with his own blood waflied away our guilt ; after he hath 
fanftified and cleanfed us by his holy Spirit, made us the 
children, and imprinted the image of his Father upon our 
hearts; after he hath kindled in our fouls a flame of divine 
love, and made us content with nothing but himfelf, and 
with no place where he is not ; furely he will not leave us 
comfortlefs ; he can have no other defign than to carry us 
to live with him, and reign with him for ever and ever. 

Does not this reprefentation alfo fcrve to fliow the ex- 
cellency of the heavenly glory ? It is called in fcripture, 
** the purchafed polTeffion." -And, oh! my dear brethren. 



loo The Believer go'mg to God 

how great, beyond expreffion, mufl: that inheritance be, 
which was fo dearly boufvht, for which every price, but 
the blood of the eternal Son of God was rejefted! See his 
body brokea, and his blocd flicd ; and there fee what hea- 
ven has CGli ; and this it coil to him, who had dwelt there 
from etcrnicy, and could not be deceived in its worth. It 
was no unneceffary expence, idly thrown away, but what 
alone was equal to the glorious purchafe. Had we no- 
thing ell'e, by v^'hich to guefs at that, which eye hath not 
fcen, this, of itfelf, ought to be fufHcient to raife our hopes, 
to the hlghell pilch, and give us the moft exalted concep- 
tions of its infinite glory. 

And may 1 not add, upon this head, v\y brethren, that 
this ordinance is, to many, an earneft and foretafle, as 
well as an affurance, of the happinefs of heaven. Is it 
not the fenfible communion with God, which fome of his 
faints even here enjoy, a refemblance, though faint, of 
that full and perfcCf comnmnion which they Hiall enjoy 
with their Creator and Redeemer in the world above ? 
John xiv. 23. '•'' — If a man love me, he will keep my 
'^ words, and my Father will love him; and we will come 
'■'■ unto him, and make our abode with him." What is 
he.*iVen, but to be free from fin ; to contemplate the glory 
of an infinite God ; to be filled with a fenfe of his love ; 
and to be beyond the reach of temptation to offend him 
any more. Now, when the believer fees his pardon feal- 
ed with his Redeemer's blood ; when he is filled v^ith a 
hatred of all fin, and a humble confidence of being deli- 
vered from its power ; when his very complaints are put 
to filence, and the frailties of a dying body are left behind, 
or fwallowed up by the hope of a bleffed refurreftion ; 
what is this, but the very dawn of heaven in the foul! 
what is this, but the fiiout of vi6lory ! and an earnefl of 
that day of complete triumph, when all his enemies fhall 
be brought under his feet ! 

I am fenfible that the frame of many communicants 
will be but a bad emblem of heaven ; and, if they meafure 
it by that ftandard, it v.'il! give them but low and forry no- 
tious of it. This, however, is not the cafe with all ; and 
there are it\w real Ciiriltians, but in fome parts of their 



as bis Exceeding Joy. loi 

lives, have felt fuch inward joy in God, that they have 
been ready to fay, with the difciples on the mount of tranf- 
figwx'sXxoxx^ It is good for lis to be here. Neither is there 
any place v/here it may be more reafonably expeQed than 
at a communion table : every pious foul fhould breathe 
oat this prayer of the Pfalmifc, Pfal. Ixiii. i, 2, 3, 4. " O 
" God ! thou art my God ! early v/ill I feek thee : my 
" foul thirfteth for thee ! my flelh longeth for thee in a 
*' dry and thirfly land, where no water is : to fee thy pow- 
*' er and thy glory, fo as 1 have feen thee in the fan6tuary; 
" becaufe thy loving-kindnefs is better than life, my lips 
*' fhall praife thee. Thus will I blefs diee, while 1 live! 
*' I will lift up my hands in thy name !" 

And now, my brethren, what reafon is there for every 
fmcere communicant to go to God in this ordinance, as 
their exceeding joy. It points us forward to that bleffed 
time when we Ihall indeed be fatisfied with that fulnefs of 
joy, and thofe rivers of pleafures that are at his right hand. 
We are glad now, indeed, to help our flagging conceptions 
with fymbols and figures : But then fhall our eyes fee the 
glorious Saviour Handing at the right hand of God, fur- 
rounded by ten thoufand of his faints, who have been re- 
deemed by his blood. This life is but a fcene of mifery 
and forrow, v/here wretchednefs is often to be feen, and 
lamentations heard, even in the dwellings of the righteous : 
But then all tears lliall be wiped away from their eyes, 
and thefe fongs of praife begin which fhall never end- 
Now we are borne down with prevailing corruption, 
which, as a dead weight, depreffes our fpirits : But then 
fhall we be perfeftly freed from all impurity, and ferve 
our God and Redeemer with the fame fpirit and joy as 
the angels do in heaven. Now we are but as young un- 
fledged birds, which in learning to fly can but flutter a 
little, and immediately take refuge in the earth : But we 
fnall foon foar above it ; rifmg with unwearied wings and 
never failing flrength. 

Let us forget for a little the weaknefs of mortality, and 
carry our thoughts to the general aflembly of the church of 
the firft born, where no fufpicion of our falfe heart being 
admitted fuall remain, when all the v/ide congregation 



lefts Tie BelicDer going to God 

fhall join In celebrating the praifes of Almighty God, and 
of the Lamb ; and there fhall not be one jarring or one 
difcordant note in the univerfal harmony. Thus I have 
laid before you what a fource of joy there is to the believer, 
in the holy ordinance which you now have accefs to par- 
take of, and proceed, in the 

Lafl place, to make fome pra£lical improvement of the 
, fubjea. And, 

1. May I not, in a few words, obferve how great is the 
goodnefs of God, in providing fo rich an entertainment 
for us in our prefent ilate. This life has been exprefsly 
defigned, in Providence, as a fcene of difficulties and tri- 
als. We are here in exile from our Father's houfe ; yet 
doth he not leave iis altogether defolate, but hath given us 
this as a token and pledge of his love, before the full mani- 
feftation of it. Here is food to give us vigor for our 
journey, in this valley of tears : Strength to embolden 
us againft our enemeis, that we may hold on our courfe 
lleadily, without wearying. Will it be matter of eternal 
furprife, that the only begotten Son of God fhould do ho- 
nor to our world, by taking up his abode in it, and digni- 
fy human nature by wearing it himfelf, and uniting it to 
his own ? Is it not a continued proof of the fame conde- 
fcenfion, as well as an evidence of divine wifdom, that he 
fliould leave to every age this Handing memorial of him- 
felf, his appearance and work, that fenfe itfelf might be 
partner with faith, in rejoicing over his goodnefs ? If his 
hearers were bleffed with his heavenly voice, and wonder- 
ed at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth, 
during his perfonal miniftry, let us with admiration and 
joy, look upon the fymbols of his fufferings and death : let 
us furvey the pidure of his agony drawn by himfelf, and 
let us remember what it promifes, and what he is now 
gone to prepare for his faithful followers. 

2. Let us, by way of improvement, confider a little 
for whom this joy is provided ; does not this need expli^ 
cation ? And are not many of you faying within your- 
selves, furely obftinacy itfelf cannot deny, that here is 
great caufe of joy to fome : but who are they ? is it not a 
joy with which a Ih-anger cannot intermeddle, that per- 



as his Exceeding Joy. 103 

tains only to a privileged fev/ ? This inquiry is highly 
needful, as the great fpring of joylefs communions- is the 
want of a perfonal application of the bleffings of our Re- 
deemer's purchafe. That I may neither unwarrantably 
difcourage any, nor proilitute this precious privilege to 
the unworthy, I ihall obferve, that this joy is truly appli- 
cable to all to whom it is defirable ; to all whom it may be 
ufeful, but in different lights, according to their different 
characters. 

ift, All thofe who have not only laid hold on Chrift for 
falvation, but have fome degree of humble confidence in 
the divine mercy, on whom the Lord has lifted up the 
light of his reconciled countenance. If there are any fuch 
among us, as God forbid but there were, they ought ; 
but why do I fay they ought ; for, no doubt, they certain- 
ly will go to God as their exceeding joy. To you, my 
brethren, it belongs, with wonder and gratitude, to fur- 
vey thefe bleffmgs to which you know your title, and to 
join in that heavenly anthem. Rev. i. ^^6. " — Unto him " 
*' that loved us, and wafhed us from our fins in his own 
" blood, and hath made us kings and priefis unto God, 
" and his father, to him be glory, and dominion for ever 
*' and ever. Amen." Rev. vii. 12. " Bleffing and glory, 
" and wifdom, and thankfgiving, and honor and power, 
** and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." 
Let your faith follow your rifen Redeemer to his Father's 
throne, and look forward to what he is doing and preparing 
for you, as well as backward to what he hath already done. 
If Satan be under your feet ; if fin be crucified on your Sa- 
viour's crofs ; and cares and forrows kept at a diiknce, I 
hope it will help you to fome conception of the felicity of 
that ftate, " where there fhall be no more curfe, but the 
" throne of God, and of the Lamb fnall be in it, and his 
" fervants fhall ferve him." 

2dly, In this ordinance there is matter of joy and con- 
folation to the fearful and doubting Chriftian, whc, not 
without defires after God, and the remembrance of his 
name, yet is full of folicitude and anxiety, and dare not 
pofitively afiSrm his own interefl in the Saviour. What 
is fet before us in this ordinance, particularly what I have 



104 ^^ Believer going to God 

this da}' opened up on the fubjetl, will fhow how well it 
is fitted for ftrengthening the weak, and comforting the 
feeble-minded. But, to explain this propriety a little, 
let me aflc you is your doubt of God's willingnefs to re- 
ceive returning finners ? This doubt the Lord's fupper 
is a full refolution of; this table fpread by his appointment, 
is an exprefs ftipulation, on his part, of pardon and peace, 
to all who are willing to accept of them on the terms of 
the gofpel ? Well, but what are the terms of the gofpel ? 
Infinitely free and gracious, on the one hand, and exceed- 
ing Uriel and fevere on the other ; full forgivenefs to the 
chief of iumers, without any merit or qualification on their 
jDart ; complete deliverance from the power of corrupti- 
on ; and lanclification by the Holy Spirit of grace. What 
then are the fevere terms ? Truly to accept of them juft 
as fully and freely as they are offered ; to receive forgive- 
nefs as mere mercy, which we have not deferved, and 
defire deliverance from every fin without exception ; and 
to expeft to obtain it not from ourfelves, but by the firength 
that -is in Chrifl: : the true felf-denial of the gofpel is the 
hardeft; facrifice to human pride. Alen may cry up mo- 
rality, and boad of it, and trufl: in it, and never pra(5life 
it ; but heartily to approve of the whole law of God, and 
breathe after conibrniity to it, as the purchafe of Chrifl's 
death, and the effedl of our union with him, and giving 
the honor of it only to him, this, if I mifiake not, is the 
obedience of faith. Now, do you doubt whether you have 
accepted Chrifl: on thefe terms ? This is not doubting, 
but refufing; and I have no confolation for you. But if 
you are willing that Chrifl: fhould be all, and you fliould 
be nodiing, and fincerely grieve for the fin and impurity 
that flill cleaves to you, and even for your unbelief, and 
the hardnefs of your hearts, come to this table, and " my 
*' God fliall fupply all your wants from his riches in glory 
*^ by Chrift jefus." 

3dly, That I may, if poffible, yet farther illufirate and 
commend the divine grace, here is matter of joy to all 
without exception : "• Behold, 1 bring you glad tidings 
" of great joy, that God is in Chrifl: reconciling the world 
•' unto himfelfl" You have caufe to be thankful, that, 



as his Exceeding Joy. 105 

for your former contempt of mercy, you have not been cut 
off from the land of the living, and condemned for ever 
to the flames. Othat you were fenfible what grace and 
patience is exercifed towards you in your daily preferva- 
tion ! tiiat your pall refulals have not been accepted as 
your final choice, and your liate determined beyond re- 
demption ! I do, now, upon this folemn occalion, when 
the body and blood of Chrill, as broken and filed for fin- 
ners, is to be fet before you, by his warrant and authority, 
befeech you, by the mercies of God, and pray you to be 
reconciled unto him. Shall i be obliged, on this feafon 
of joy, amidfl fo bright a difplay of divine love, to un- 
jheath the fword of almighty vengeance, and denounce the 
terrors of the Lord ? No, my brethren, I rather chufe, 
now, to befeech than to command, to invite than to threat- 
en you ; to fhew you the wrath of God falling upon your 
Saviour than upon yourfelves ; and fhall not his love con- 
ftrain you, fhall not his mercy perfuade you, not to rejeCl 
the counfel of God againft yourfelves? Will you prefer 
the pleafures of fm, carnal mirth, and fenfual riot, •■to all 
the bleffed fruits of divine love ? You wall fay, I fufpecl:, 
that you have but a cold notion of all this profufion of lan- 
guage about joy in God ; it is becaufe you know it not. 
Do but tafte and fee, that the Lord is good ! I am fenfible, 
however, it is in vain to fpeak to any but thofe who are 
weary of their fms ; and therefore I fliall only, in our Sa- 
viour's words, call all thofe "who are weary and heavy 
" laden to come unto him, that they may have reft." As 
this ordinance is proper for ratifying former engagements, 
fo it is alio proper for entering into covenant with God, 
and folemnly giving yourfelves to be his. And oh that this 
may be a day and place, marked in the regifters of hea- 
ven, when and where many joined themfelves to the Lord 
in a perpetual covenant never to be forgotten or recalled ! 

3. The laft ufe to be made of this fubjeft, is to fliow 
you what is your proper employment at the Lord's table. 
It ought to be a joyful, thankful application of the bleffings 
of Chrift's purchafe to your fouls. Be ftrong in faith, 
giving glory to God ; not only celebiate his love, but im- 
prove it, by afking, in faith, everv tliintr necell'ary to 

Vol. IL O ' ' < 



io6 The Belicoer going to Gody ^c. 

your faiiclification and peace. — I fliall fhut up all, by de- 
firing you to ufe the Pfalmift's preface, in going unto 
God, who fays, in the 3d verfe, " O fend out thy light 
" and thy truth ; let them lead me, let them bring me in-. 
" to thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles." In order to 
raife and elevate your minds, to fix and engage your un- 
fettled hearts, apply to God, who hath the hearts of all 
men in his hand, that he would difpofe you for his fervice; 
that he would fhed abroad his love in your hearts, and 
make you joyful in his houfe of prayer. And my earnefl 
prayer to God for you, is, that he would at this time, con- 
vert fome, or (why ftiould we limit him ?) every profane 
linner in this aflembly ; pull oft" the mafk of hypocrites, 
and fliew them their own likenefs ; that he would make it 
a joyful comnmnion to many of you, and a profitable com- 
munion to all. Amen. 



[ 107 ] 



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The CHRISTIAN'S DISPOSITION u.x'dsr a SENSE o: 
MERCIES RECEIVED. 



SERMON 21- 



PSALM cxvL 7. 

Return unto thy rest, my soul, for the Lord hath dealt 
bountJfulhj with thee. 



IT is the language of nature, as well as of grace, to cry- 
to God in diftrefs. When great extremity fhows the 
weaknefs of all other help, there remains fo much of God 
written on the confciences even of the inofl profligate, as 
excites them to this duty. The truth of this obfervation 
appears from many fcripture examples, as well as every 
day's experience. But though bad men may cry to God 
for deliverance from fufFering, they know little, if an}'' 
thing at all, of returning to God in duty and gratitude, for 
the mercy received, Pfal. Ixxviii. 34, — 37. " When he 
" flew them, then they fought him ; and they returned, 
" and inquired early after God. And tliey remembered 
" that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeem - 
" er. Neverthelefs, they did flatter him widi their mouth, 
" and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their 
" heart was not right with him ; neither were they fledfall 
" in his covenant." See alfo the account of the ten lepers, 
Luke xvii. 12, — 17. " And as he entered into a certain 
" village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which 
" i^ood afar off, and they lifted up their voices, and faid, 



io8 The Christian's disposition under 

" Jefus, MaHer, have mercy on us. And, when he faw 
"•' them, he faid unto them, ^o fhev/ yourlelves unto the 
" prieils ; and it came to pafs, that, as they went, they 
" were cleanied. And one of them, when he faw that he 
'■'■ was healed, turned back, and, with a loud voice, glori- 
" fied God, and fell down on his face, at his feet, giving 
'' him thanks ; and he was a Samaritan : and Jefus an- 
*' fwerinsf, faid, Were there not ten cleanfed t but where 
'■'■ are the nine ?" They all cried alike for the cure ; but 
the greateft part foon forgot their obligation to their mer- 
ciful Saviour. 

It is no way difficult to account for this behavior in bad 
men ; bat, alas I it is melancholy to think how much of 
this unhappy difpofition is to be found even in the bell. 
When the preilure of any trial is felt, they flee to God as 
their refuge and fecurity ; with fervent fupplication, and 
earned wTeftling, they intreat his help. But, though we 
mud not charge any fmcere fervant of God with an entire 
forgetfulnefs of his goodnefs, or open defertion of his fer- 
vice ; yet, I am afraid, that many are very defeftive in 
this particular ; and that few, very few, preferve the fame 
folicitude to improve their mercies, as to obtain them. 

My intention is to apply this to us, who have lately 
been at the Lord's table ; and, I hope, before going there, 
not a hw were earned in their prayers for the divine pre", 
fence. Urged by the fufferings of this mortal body, the 
lofs of outward comforts, the power of inward temptati- 
ons, or a defire of the return of an abfent God, or the 
quickening of a flothful fpirit, they fought confolation in 
this holy ordinance ; they went to feek the Lord, going 
and weeping. I hope alfo, and believe, diat many went 
not in vain, but "found him whom their foul loved, found 
" him, and would not let him go." All fuch ought to 
imitate the Pfalmifl in the fpirit that breathes through the 
whole of this Plalm ; and, particularly, in the words of 
my text : Return unto thy rest, my soul, for the Lord 
bath dealt bountifully with thee. 

I need only fay, in a very hvj words, that the whole 
Ffalm is an expreflion of his gratitude for deliverance 
from great fuilcringc, [rem enemies cruel and treacherous. 



a sense mercies ofrecehed. 109 

They were alfo of an inward, as well as an outward kindi 
as all his trials did ordinarily bring fm to remembrance, 
and fill him with a humbling fenfe of the awful judgments 
of a holy and righteous God. He feems alfo to have been 
particularly exercifed in prayer to God his all-fufficient: 
help: ver. 3, 4. " The forrows of death compiifled me, 
" and the pains of hell gat hold upon me : I found trouble 
" and ibrrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; 
*' O Lord, I befeech thee, deliver my foul," Pie there- 
upon celebrates the mercy of God, and wearing the bonds 
of love, defires toexprefs his obligations in the flrongell 
terms, and to fatisfy them by the mofl chearful obedience: 
verfe 12. " Whatlhall I render unto the Lord for all his 
*' benefits towards me ?" 

In difcourfing further, at this time, I fhall juft obferve, 
that the words of the text contain the Pfal mill's refolution: 
Return unto thy rest^ my soul. — And the reafon on 
which it is founded ; -for the Lord hath dealt bounti- 
fully imth thee, Thefe two, as applicable to the fervants 
of God in general, and ourfelves in particular, I fhall dif- 
tindly confider, not in the order of the words, but in the 
order of nature. 

I. I fhall defcribe the flate of thofe with whom God 
hath dealt bountifully, 

II. Explain the import of the Pfalmifi's refolution, 
wliich ought to be theirs : Return unto thy rest., my soul. 

And then fliall make fome praftical improvement of 
the fubjeft. 

I. Then, I fhall defcribe the flate of thofe with whom 
God hath dealt bountifully; and I am jull to defcribe this, 
in its great lines, from experience, befeeching every ons 
prefent to hear it with application ; and to add fuch cir- 
cumflances to the feveral particulars, as will make them 
completely fuitable to his own Hate— Obferve, then, 

I. That the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thofe from 
whom he hath removed any afilidion under which they 
groaned, and for deliverance from which they prayed. — 
If we would count our mercies, they are very many : and 



no The Cbristtan's disposition wider 

we ofteri lofe both the relifh of them, and the benefit of 
them, by not obferving them. Thofe who are delivered 
fromficknefs, or the fear of it, in themfelves, or their rela- 
tions, ought to be fenfible of the goodnefs of God, who 
maketh them to lye down and rife up in fafety. — If any 
had reafoa to fear confinement from ordinances, or from 
ufefulnefs, they fliould fay, with the Pfalmift, Pl'al. cxviii. 

i6, 'ly. " The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the 

*' right hand of the Lord doth valiantly. I fhall not die, 
*' but live, and declare the works of the Lord; the Lord 
" hath chafiened me fore ; but he hath not given me over 
" unto death. Open to me the gates of righteoufnefs ; I 
*' will go into them, and I will praife the Lord." — If any 
were opprefi'ed with calumny and reproach, and God hath 
hidden them from the flrife of tongues, hath pleaded their 
caufe, or brought forth their "judgment as the light, and 
" their righteoufnefs as the noon-day," The Pfalmifl: 
fays, Pfal. cxviii. lo, — 14, " All nations compafTed me 
*' about ; but in the name of the Lord will I deRroy them. 
" They compafTed me about, yea, they compafled me 
" about; but, in the name of the Lord, I will defiroy them. 
" They compafTed me about like bees ; they are quenched 
" as the fire of thorns ; for, in the name of the Lord, I 
*' will deflroy them. Thou haft thruft fore at me, that I 
" might fall ; but the Lord helped me : the Lord is my 
" ftrength and fong, and is become my falvation." If 
any are delivered from the fear of want, and a reafonable 
profpe6\ given them of competent and fuitable provifion 
lor themfelves and families ; if they can remember the 
time, whether lately or at a greater diftance, when they 
Teemed to be threatened with poverty and dependance, 
and all the fliame, diftrefs, and temptation that attends 
that enfnaring ftate; if, I fay, they can remember this, and 
Tee how God, by a gracious providence, has led them by 
the hand ; has given them food to eat and raiment to put 
on, and even honored them with the ability and the heart 
to ftretch out their hands to the poor and needy, the father- 
lefs and the v;idov/ ; Turely he hath dealt bountiTuUy with 
them. They ought to Tay with the PTalmift, PTal. xxiii. 5, 
" Thou preparell a table beTcrs me in the preTence of 



a sense of mercies recehed. iii 

" mine enemies : thou anointefl my head with oil, my 
*' cup runneth over." — If any have been burdened with a 
fenfe of guilt, the arrows of the Lord within them, and the 
poifon thereof drinking up their fouls, and God hath re- 
vealed himfelf to them, as pardoning iniquity, tranlgreffi- 
on, and fm ; if they have been enabled to lay hold, with 
clearnefs and confidence, of the great atonement, they 
have furely tailed of his love : Or, if a fpirit of bondage 
and flavifli fear has given a forbidding afpect to the paths 
of piety, or hath brought a gloom and darknefs upon the 
paths of providence, and it hath pleafed God to fpeak 
peace to their fouls, by the Spirit of confolation, they will 
fay with the Pfalmift, Pfalm ciii. i, ^' Blefs the Lord, O 
" my foul, and all that is within me, blefs his holy name." 
— Or, finally, if any hath complained of a dead, flothful, 
fecure frame, reding too eafily in the form, and minding 
little of the power of godlinefs, and it hath pleafed God 
to touch their hearts and lips with a live- coal from oft' his 
altar ; to command their attention by his word ; to excite 
their affeQions in his worfliip, and to give a new lb"ain of 
Watchfulnefs and tendernefs to the whole of their conver- 
fation : they have furely the greateft reafon to fay, " Re- 
*' turn unto thy refl, O my foul, for the Lord hath dealt 
*' bountifully with thee." 

2. The Lord hath dealt bountifully with you, if you 
can obferve a particular mark and fjgnature of his provi- 
dence in your mercies. It is one thing to receive the 
bounty of providence, and another to difcern and confefs 
the hand that bellows it. Even with regard to the bleff- 
ings that are, in a great meafure, common to every thing 
that lives, it is a matter of the higheft moment, and of 
great influence in religion, to have a deep and ferious con- 
viction from whom they flow, to be fenfible of the abfo- 
lute and conftant dependance of every creature upon God. 
It places us immediately in our Maker's prefence ; for, 
as the apoftle Paul fays, Adls xvii. 27, " — He is not far 
" from every one of us. For in him we live, and move, 
" and have our being." 

But though this ^s not to be neglected, I have fomething 
farther in view, viz. When we can obferve the particular 



112 



The Christiari's disposition under 



ftepsof providence, as well as the pjracious intention of It, 
as the fruit of fpecial and diftinguirtiing love. The foot- 
fleps of Providence arc to be ktn often in the means, — 
in the feafon, — and in the nature of the mercy. 

id. When the means by which any mercy is brought 
aJbout are extraordinary, and far beyond the reach of hu- 
man vvifdom, it ferves to fhnw that God himfelf hath been 
their help. Sometimes the children of God are left to 
prove the weaknefs of all created help, and to be urged in 
a manner to the brink of defpair, that their deliverance 
may be the more fignal, and may the more evidently 
point out the very finger of God. What a mercy is it, 
when the enemies of good men wait for their halting, and 
hope to overcome them, and yet they are remarkably de- 
livered, and out of weaknefs arc made (Irong ? See how 
the Pfalmiil prays, Pfal. Ixxxvi. i6, 17. " O turn unto 
" me, and have mercy upon me. Give thy firength unto 
" thy fervant, and fave the fon of .thine handmaid. Shew 
** me a token for. good, that they which hate me may fee 
" it, and be afliamed; becaufe thou, Lord, haft holpen 
" me, and comforted me." 

2dly. Sometimes the providence of God is feen in the 
feafon of the mercy. It is beftowed when it is moft need- 
ed, or when it may be of greateft ufe. When the faith of 
his people is beginning to fail, it frequently meets with 
unexpefted and eminent fupport, Pf. Ixxiii. 2» "But as 
" for me, my feet were almoll gone : my fteps had well 
" nigh dipt." V. 10. " Therefore his people return hi- 
*' ther : and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them." 
Pfalm xciv. 16, 17, 18, 19. "Who will rife up for me 
" againil the evil doers ? or who will ftand up for me 
" againft the workers of iniquity ? Unlefs the Lord had 
" been my help, my foul had almoft dwelt in filence. 
" When 1 faid, my foot flippeth ; thy mercy, O Lord, 
" held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within 
" me, th)' comforts delight my foul." When they have 
duties of importance before them, they have fometimes 
fnch fupplies of grace and ftrength given them, as to carry 
them through with comfort and with credit. Sometimes, 
10 prepare them for trials which may be before them, they 



a sense of mercies recehed. 113 

have uncommon meafures of confolation from above; and 
ibmetimes under or after trials, for their fupport and com- 
fort, they meet with all in the Creator, and much more 
than they loll in the creature. And I hope, my brethren, 
many have caufe to adore the wifdom, as well as the 
grace of God in public ordinances, that diredls his minif- 
ters, as well as his Spirit, to fuch inllrudions as may be 
moft fuitable, both to the wants and the defires of his 
faints. How excellent is found inftru6lion, at any rate ! 
But what a new beauty and excellency does is acquire, 
in the eyes of that perlbn, to whofe inward complaints it 
is direflly fuited ? We may fay of it as Solomon fays, 
Proverbs xv. 23, *' A man hath joy by the anfwer of his 
" mouth ; and a word fpoken in due feafon, how good is 

" it ?'' XXV. II. "A word fitly fpoken is like apples 

" of gold in pidures of filver." Ifaiah 1. 4. " The Lord 
" God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I 
*' fhould know how to fpeak a word in feafon to him that 
*' is weary." 

3dly. Once more : The fignature of Providence is 
fometimes feen in the nature of the mercy, when it is ex- 
adlly fuited to the ftate and chara6ler of the perfon con- 
cerned. Our temper, flation, duties, have in them a very 
great diverfity ; and there is frequently an opportunity to 
obferve how God difpenfes his gifts with wildom and pro- 
priety. If he gives to the rich, humility, thankfulnefs, or 
liberality ; to the poor, patience, trull, and refignation : 
If he keeps the weak from temptation and trial ; and fills 
with fortitude thofe who are to meet with refiftance ; and, 
in general, accommodates his mercies to their apparent 
neceflity, can it be denied, that he deals bountifully with 
them. We are taught this truth in a very tender paffage, 
Pfal. ciii. 13,14. "Like as a father pitieth his children, 
" fo the Lord pitieth them that fear him ; for he knoweth 
" our frame ; he remembereth that we are dull." In ma- 
ny inftances, indeed, this kindnefs and condefcenfion is 
to be obferved both in the nature of mercies, and in the 
meafure of afRiQ:ions, Ifa. xxvii. 8. " In meafure, when 
" it fhooteth forth, thou wilt debi^te Vv'ith it ; he Ilayeth 

Vol. IL P 



114 '^^^ Christian'' s disposition under 

'* his rough wind in the day of the eafl wind." This leads 
me to obferve, 

3. That the Lord deals bountifully with his people, 
when he gives them a clear and fatisfying view of the fa- 
lutary end, and enables them to make a fandlified ufe 
both of their trials and mercies. I need not tell you, that 
calamities of various kinds are infeparable from this (late 
of mortality and of fm ; neither need I tell you that the 
children of God never were, nor ever fliall be exempted 
from dieir fliare. But, as their mercies have a quite dif- 
ferent nature and influence, from thofe which are bellow- 
ed upon a carelefs, fecure world ; fo their trials have a pe- 
culiar direftion, and are capable of a fpiritual improve- 
ment : nay, they are reprefented in fcripture, as the fruit 
and evidence of love, Heb. xii. 5. " And ye have forgot- 
*' ten the exhortation which fpeaketh unto you as unto 
*' children, My fon, defpife not thou the chaflening of the 
" Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him." Pfalm 
Ixxxix. 30, 31, 32, 33. " If his children forfake my law, 
" and walk not in my judgments ; if they break my fla- 
" tutes, and keep not my commandments, then will I 
" vifit their tranfgreffion with the rod, and their iniquity 
" v/ith flripes : neverthelefs, my loving-kindnefs will I 
*' not utterly take from him, nor fuffer my faithfulnefs to 
" fail." 

Now, my brethren, fometimes the children of God may 
ftruggle for a feafon under afflidlions, and find much diffi- 
culty to adhere lledfaftly to their duty : nay, what do I 
fliy? truly they may fin not a little by impatience in their 
liearts, and fpeaking unadvifedly with their lips, as well 
as by finking under the flroke, and manifefting unbelief 
and diPiruR in the rock of their falvation. They may be 
alio greatly at a lofs to interpret the language of Provi- 
dence, and difcover the caufe of God's controverfy with 
them. They may fay, with the Pfalmift, Pfal. Ixxvii. 6, 
— 9, " I call to remembrance my fong in the nigiit ; I 
" commune with mine own heart, and my fpirit made di- 
" ligent fearch. Will the Lord call off forever ? and will 
" he be favorable no more ? Is his mercy clean gone for- 
" ever ? Doth his promife fail for evermore ? Hath God 



a sense of mercies recehed. 115 

*" forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger fhut up his 
" tender mercies ? Selah." Or, with Job, Job x. i — 3» 
^' My foul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint 
" upon myfelf; I will fpeak in the bitternefs of my foul. 
" I will fay unto God, do not condemn me ; fliew me 
" wherefore thou contendefl with me. Is it good unto 
" thee, that thou fhouldeft opprefs ? that thou fliouldefl 
*' defpife the work of thine hands, and fhine upon the 
<' counfel of the wicked ?'* 

But what a mercy is it, when it pleafeth God to recon- 
cile our minds to the will of his providence ; to fet home 
upon the confcience his right of fovereignty ; his title to 
difpofe of our perfons, our reputation, our fubftance, our 
relations, without exception, and without condition, even 
as he will. O how happy ! to be able to fay, with our 
fufFering Saviour, " O my Father, if it be polTible, let this 
*'- cup pafs from me ! neverthelefs, not as I will, but as 
" thou wilt. And, again, if this cup may not pafs away 
*« from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." Is this 
unreafonable ? Nothing lefs. Should he not do what he 
will with his own ? Is it impoffible ? Bleffed be God, it is 
far from it. How happy, my brethren, to have our cor- 
ruptions mortified by fuffering ! to have the fpirit broken 
by contrition and penitence, when the body is broken by 
ficknefs or diftrefs ; to weaken our attachment to the 
world, when it is Ihowing its inftability and uncertainty 
as our poffeffion ; to hate the fm for which, and not the 
God by whom the ftroke is inflided, let it be of what na- 
ture fbever it will ? O how happy to have divine confo- 
lation under fuffering ! an angel from heaven llrengthen- 
ing us ! the foul following hard after God ! vvhen the be- 
liever is enabled to delight himfelf in God, even in the 
abfence of all outward comfort ! and to fay with Hab. iii.. 
17, 18, " Although the fig-tree ihall not bloffom, neither 
" fliall fruit be in the vines ; the labor of the olive lliall 
" fail, and the fields fhall yield no meat ; the flock fliall 
" be cut off from the fold, and there fliall be no herd in the 
" Halls; yet I v/ill rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the 
'' God of my falvation!'' O how happy is it, when we 
experience the fandifying effedls of fuffering, to be able to 



I ijS The ChristiarCs disposition under 

look back upon it, and find the bitternefs and feverity 
over, or mitigated by time, but the fruits of it remaining, 
and daily gathering flrength ! One afftiflion, truly fanc- 
tified, prepares the mind for others to follov/, and makes 
them both more tolerable, and more ufeful. He who has 
ibught, and found confolation in God, under one affli6:ion, 
is refreflied, braced, and armed for another combat ; he is 
not fomuch afraid of new and unknown enemies, becaufe 
he knows where to find fure and eflPe6lual fupport. There 
is fomething very noble and animated in that part of the 
apoftle Paul's difcourfe to the elders of Ephefus, which 
relates to his fufFerings for the gofpel, Ads xx. 22, 23, 24. 
*' And now, behold, I go bound in the fpirit unto Jerufa- 
** lem, not knowing the things that {hall befal me there ; 
" fave that the Holy Ghoft witnelleth in every city, fay- 
" ing, that bonds and afflidions abide me. But none of 
" thefe things move me ; neither count I my life dear 
*' unto myfelf, fo that I might finifh my courfe with joy, 
" and the miniilry which I have received of the Lord Je- 
*' fas, to teflify the gofpel of the grace of God." I cannot 
;rn dirough either every kind of fuffering, or every kind of 
benefit we may receive from it ; but we have the pleafure 
of feeing the fcripture faints, both in the Old and New 
Teflament, bearing witnefs to the falutary confequence of 
affliction. Thus David fays, Pfal. cxix. 67, "Before I 
'•' was afflicted, I went aftray ; but now have I kept thy 
*' word ;" and verfe 71, "It is good for me that I have 
*' been afflifted, that I might learn thy lUtutes." And 
the apoftle Paul, Rom. v. 3. " And not only fo, but we 
*' glory in tribulation alfo, knowing that tribulation work- 
" eth patience." And fo certain is this truth, that, I am 
perfuaded, there is no ferious exercifed perfon among us, 
but is willing to If rengdien the evidence by his own tefli- 
mony. 

I may add, that the Lord deals very bountifully with 
thole to whom he gives the fan(Stified ul'e of their mercies ; 
when in general mercies have not led to fecurity or pride, 
but to thankfulnefs, and even to a holy concern to im- 
prove them to the glory of God ; when great abundance 
of outward poflellions has not led to fenfuality, or profa- 



a sense of mercies received. 117 

nJty, or hardnefs of heart ; but, on the contrary, to hu- 
mility, ufefulnefs, liberality ; when a numerous or grow- 
ing family, children fpringing up as olive plants round 
about the table, only fill the parents with a tender concern 
to train them up in the fear of God, and feafon their young 
hearts with early impreffions of religion; when, inllead of 
a foolifli jealoufy or ambition to have your children more 
lumptuoully drefled than others, your great care is to have 
them kept from the fociety of the vicious, and to have them 
no way behind the very befl accompliflied in every branch 
of ufeful knowledge ; when you are favored with the ef- 
teem and afFe£lion of others, and God enables you to im- 
prove your influence by zeal and diligence in doing good. 

Thefe are all fan<5lified mercies ; and, as the Lord deals 
bountifully with thofe on whom they are beftovved from 
time to time ; fo, in a6"ts of folemn worfliip, it is an un- 
fpeakable happinefs, when fuch views are taken of our 
ftate and fituation, and of the afpe£t of providence towards 
us, as ferve to confirm and ftrengthen every holy difpoliti- 
on, and lead us in the paths of truth and righteoufnefs. 
In the 

4th, And lad place, The Lord hath dealt bountifully 
with thofe whom he hath admitted to the molt intimate 
and fplritual communion with himfelf ; thofe whom he 
hath carried above the fphere of temptation, filled them 
with fenfible joy in the Holy Ghofl here, and earned de- 
fires after the complete and perpetual enjoyment of his 
prefence in heaven. My brethren, it is no contemptible 
communion with God, when the foul is poured out in 
penitential forrow, filled with hatred of fin, with a love 
of God's laws, or fubmifilon to his providence ; when the 
Spirit fhines with clearnefs either on commands or pro- 
mifes, and makes the heart approve and reil in them; but 
there are alfo fpecial happy feaibns, when the believer ma}" 
be faid to leave his mercies, trials, fins, and duties, alto 
gether at a dillance, and to rejoice in the contemplation 
of an infinite God. He is the proper obje6l of the higheft 
efreem, and mod ardent love of every reafonable creature ; 
he is the immediate object of delight and wonder to tht 
cjledial hods ; and fometimes he vouchfafes fome degree 



ii8 The Christian's disposition under 

of the like exalted joy even to the faints on earth. It 
feems to have been the defire of Mofes, when he fays, 
Exod. xxxiii. i8, " — I befeech thee flievv me thy glory.'* 
And the fame feems to have been the happy attainment 
of the difciples on the mount of transfiguration ; of which 
fee the account, Matth. xvii. i, — 4, " And after fix days, 
" Jefus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and 
'■' bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was 
'■'■ transfigured before them, and his face did fliine as the 
" fun, and his raiment was white as the light ; and, be- 
" hold, there appeared unto them Mofes and Elias talking 
" with him. Then anfwered Peter, and faid unto Jefus, 
*' Lord, it is good for us to be here : if thou wilt, let us 
" make here three tabernacles ; one for thee, and one for 
" Mofes, and one for Elias." The luflre of their Mailer's 
appearance, and what they heard of his intercourfe with 
the two inhabitants of heaven, feems to have made them 
quite forget that they had any thing to do on earth : or, at 
leafl, made them very unwilling to return to their former 
ftate. 

Hov/ fliall I explain this, or bring it down to the con- 
ception of worldly men ? Perhaps it is wrong to attempt 
it; but, left: any Ihould go away, fpeaking with contempt 
or indignation of communion with God, as extravagance, 
enthufiafm, and felly, I fhall take leave to fupport it by 
the following illuftration. Suppofe any of you were, as 
perhaps you have been, admitted to the fight of fome ex- 
ceeding ftrange and wonderful appearance in nature or 
art ; will not this fometimes fill you with inexpreffible 
furprife and delight? will it not, for a time, quite fufpend 
your attention to any thing elfe .'' Your bufinefs, cares, 
fears, and other pleafures, will be all forgotten for a feafon. 
Now, if this is the cafe, I defire to know, why the glory 
of the true God, difcovered in his word, and illuflrated 
by his Spirit, may not, or ought not to be the fubje6l of 
the greatefl wonder, and moll: exalted pleafure, to thofe 
who truly love him ? The truth is, there is fo much to be 
feen, that is furprifing and aftonifliing, both in the nature 
and works of God, in creation, providence^ and redemp- 
tion, that the only thing that liinders uc from dwelling 



d sense of mercies received, 119 

with delight on this great fubje£t, is the finfulnefs of our 
nature, which too ftrongly prompts us to flee from him. 
When therefore the believer is freed from the apprehen- 
fions of guilt, and goes to God, as his God, in gratitude 
and duty, it is no wonder that he taftes a little of that un- 
fpeakable joy that is at his right hand. I doubt not, but 
many will fay this is true. O let but the light of his re- 
conciled countenance fhine upon me, let me be but free 
from the doubt, fufpicion, and fear, fuggefted by my fins, 
and heav^en would immediately begin to dawn upon my 
foul! 

As intimate communion with God may be faid to bring 
down fomcthing of heaven to earth, fo it always carries 
the defires of the foul from earth to heaven. It is not on- 
ly made up of faith and contemplation in the prefent flate, 
but of hope, which breathes after further difcoveries in a 
flate of greater perfedlion. It not only increafes defire, 
but helps our conceptions. The foul, if I may fpeak io^ 
climbs-up to the fummit of prefent enjoyments, that it 
may fee the farther into what flill remains. It fays, as it 
v/ere, if fuch the glory and luftre of the outer court, what 
mull be the unvailed fplendor of the holy of holies. You 
fee the apoflle Paul makes this ufe of comparative reflexi- 
ons, 1 Cor. xiii. 9, — 12, " For we know in part ; and 
" we prophefy in part ; but when that which is perfect is 
*' come, then that which is in part fliall be done away. 
" When I was a child, I fpake as a child, I underllood as 
*' a child, I thought as a child ; but, when I became a 
" man, I put away childifh things: for now we fee through 
*' a glafs darkly ; but then face to face : now I know in 
*' part, but then fliall I know even as alfo I am known," 
I John iii. 2. — " And it doth not yet appear what we Ihall 
" be; but we know, that when he fhall appear, we fhali 
*' be like him ; for we fhall fee him as he is." 

Alas! my brethren, that intimate communion with 
God Ihould be fo rare, and that fo few of us fhould attain 
to the difpofition of the Apoflle of the Gentiles, who defi- 
red " to depart and to be with Chrifl, which is far better.*' 
Let us be afliamed of it. Surely many of us have tailed 
a good deal, and feen a good deal more of the vanity of 



120 The Christian'' s disposition under 

the world, which ought to wean our affections from it. 
Happy, happy they ! who can ufe the language of the 
apollle to the Phiiippians, Phil. iii. 2C, 21. '' For our 
*■• converfation is in heaven, from whence alfo we look for 
" the Saviour, the Lord Jefus Chrift ; who fhall change 
" our vile body, that it may be fafliioned like unto his 
"• glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is 
" able even to fubdue all things unto himfelf." And, 
Titus ii. 13. " Looking for that blefled hope, and the glo- 
'* rious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour, Je- 
** fus Chrifl.'* That there are fome who have been for- 
merly, and of late, fo happil}'^ vifited with the divine pre- 
I'ence, I have little doubt; and to as many as have been fo, 
fiirely I am warranted to fay, the Lord hath dealt bounti- 
fully with you, 

n. I come now to the fecond thing propofed, viz. to 
explain the import of the Pfalmiil's refolution, or his ex- 
hortation to his own foul, which all in the fame fituation 
ought to imitate. Return unto thy rest^ my soul. It 
may, perhaps, be fuppofed only to imply, that he refolves 
to forget his anxiety and care, and folace himfelf in that 
Hate of quiet and fecurity to which he was happily brought 
by the kindnefs of Providence ; but though, no doubt, 
this may be confidered as, in part, the meaning of the 
words, I cannot think it is the whole. It would be doing 
great injury to the holy Pfalmift, to fuppofe that he was 
not carried upward, in his views, to the Author of his refl, 
or to God himfelf, as the reft of his foul. The whole 
Pfalm, indeed, breathes his piety and gratitude to God ; 
and his defire of teftifying it by every proper and accepta- 
ble expreflion. Taking the words, therefore, in this 
light, we may fuppofe them to imply the following parti- 
culars : 

I. Return, and give the pralfe where it is due ; and 
humbly acknowledge God as the author of thy mercies. 
He had, as we fee by the preceding verfes, earneftly im- 
plored help from God in his diftrefs ; and now defires to 
confefs that it came from no other quarter. We are ex- 
ceeding ready to fail in this particular; fometimes we 



a senze of mercies recehed, izi 

look upon the outward means and vlfible inftruments of 
our deliverance, and forget the Supreme Difpofer of all 
events, who employs them, dire^s them, and blefTes 
them. Sometuiies we embrace the mercy itfelf Vv'ith fo 
much complacency, that we forget both our former necef- 
fity, and the author of our deliverance. In oppofition to 
both thefe, it is our indlfpenfable duty, to afcribe every 
mercy we receive, and every deliverance with which we 
are favored, to God, as its proper author, and to offer 
him the tribute of praife, and to blefs his name for ever. 
James i. 17. " Every good gift, and every perfcft gift is 
" from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights." 
I admire the manner of fpeaking frequently found in fcrip- 
ture, where the kindnefs of men towards us is immedi- 
ately and exprefsly attributed to the agency of God, Gen. 
xxxix. 21. "But the Lord was with Jofeph, and fliewed 
" him mercy, and gave him favor in the fight of the keeper 
" of the prifon." Afts vii. 9, 10. " And the patriarchs^ 
" moved with envy, fold Jofeph into Egypt; but God was 
" with him, and delivered him out of all his affliclions, 
*' and gave him favor and wifdom in the fight of Pharaoh, 
" King of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt, 
" and all his houfe." Dan. i. 9. "Now God liad brought 
*' Daniel into favor and tender love with the Prince of 
" the eunuchs." 

How great a duty, and how important a part of religi- 
on, praife and thankfgiving to God are, may be fcen in 
every page of the holy fcripture, both in the way of pre- 
cept and example, Deut. viii. 10. " When thou haft eat- 
" en, and art full, then thou fhak blefs the Lord thy God, 
*' for the good land which he hath given thee." Pfalm 
cxxxvi. I, 2, 3. "Ogive thanks unto the Lord, for he 
" is good ; for his mercy endureth for ever. O give 
" thanks unto the God of gods ; for his mercy endureth 
"forever. O give tlianks to the Lord of lords ; for his 
" mercy endureth for ever." Pfal. ciii. i, 2, 3. " Ble.fs 
" the Lord, O my foul, and all that is within me, blefs 
*' his holy name. Blefs the Lord, O my foul, and fcr- 
" get not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniqui- 
" ties; who healeth all thv difeafcs." Pfalm cxlv. i, 2. 

Vol. n. ' Q. 



122 The Christian'' s disposition under 

" I will extol thee, my God, O king ; and I will blefs 
" thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I blefs 
*' thee ; and I will praife tliy name for ever and ever." 
And that this duty ought particularly to be difcharged by 
thofe who have been highly favored of God in any refpedt, 
is very plain. Though the glory of God is the fubjedt of 
habitual adoration, and the conflant courfe of his bounty, 
the fubjed of habitual gratitude, yet new and fpecial mer- 
cies, give, as it were, a new fpring, and add ftrength and 
vigor to the ibul in this exercife. Our praifes ought to 
be particular, as well as general ; and thofe who obferve 
and record the fpecial inftances of divine mercy toward 
them, will find a fulnefs of heart in this duty, to which 
they are perfed; Grangers, who fatisfy themfelves with a 
general and indifcriminate acknowledgment of the divine 
bounty. Many of the Pfalms of David are monuments 
of his gratitude, for particular interpofitions of Providence 
in hi.s behalf, and bear particular marks of reference to the 
time and circumflances of his diflrefs. 

I only add, upon this fubjeft, that the Pfalmifl: might 
well fay, in this fenfe, Return unto thy rest^ my said ; 
for a tender and affectionate acknowledgment of the mer- 
cies of God, not only makes us find our reft in him, but 
•makes his mercies reft with us; it increafes the fweetnefs 
of every comfort ; — it purifies its nature ; — it prolongs its 
duration. — It increafes the fweetnefs of it :. for this I ap- 
peal to the experience of every child of God. Do you 
ever tafte fo much real delight in any mercy, as when you 
pour out your heart to God in gratitude for beftowing it ; 
even in gifts from men we are fometimes fenfible of a 
higher value in them, on account of the perfon who gave 
them, than any worth they have in themfelves. This 
holds, in the ftrongeft manner, with regard to God ; the 
more we return our mercies in praife to the giver, the 
more we poflcfs them, and the greater richnefs we difco- 
ver in them. — It alfo purifies their nature. Many inftan- 
ces of divine goodnefs regard our ftate and circumftances 
in the prefent life ; they are the objeds of fenfible grati- 
fication, as well as religious gratitude. Now, when we 
obferve and celebrate the kindnefs of him that beftows 



a sense of mercies recehsd. 123 

them, they not only ftrengthen the body, but fan£llfy the 
foul. Is it not fomething more than barely outward pro- 
vifion, when we fay with the Pfalmiil, Pfalm xxiii. 5, 
*' Thou prepareft a table before me, in the prefence of 
" mine enemies; thou anointed my head with oil ; my 
** cup runneth over?" — Again, it prolongs the duration 
of our mercies. One of the confequences of the weaknefs 
and imperfedtion of the prefent ftate, is, that we are ready 
foon to forget our mercies, and to lofe the relifli of them. 
In how many inftances do we find, that what gave us great 
and fenfible pleafure at firft, becomes, in time, habitual, 
and, at laft, indifferent to us ? Now, praifing, and confeiT- 
ing the goodnefs of God in them, ferves to write them up- 
on our hearts ; to continue the fweetnefs of common mer- 
cies ; and keep up the memory of fjgnal mercies, or thofe 
of an extraordinary kind. Health, flrength, provilion, 
and comfort, when they are not interrupted, are apt to be 
quite overlooked ; but the daily acknowledgment of di- 
vine goodnefs, gives us not only the pofTeffion, but the ufe 
of them. Signal mercies, hi time, flip out of the memo- 
ry, but the more we have acknowledged them, they will 
be the more eafily recalled to remembrance. I have 
known inflances of pious perfons appointing fixed days of 
thankfgiving for extraordinary deliverances, which ferved 
to renew their fenfe of them, and gave them fome degree, 
at leaft, of the fame joy and gratitude which they felt when 
the event happened. Some alfo, by keeping a record in 
writing of the paths of divine providence toward them, 
are able to read them over at proper times in their order, 
to compare them together, and thus, as it were, to have 
a rich feafl upon a whole life of mercies, the remembrance 
of many of which would otherwife have been effaced by 
time. 

2. This exprefllon may imply returning to God, and 
delighting in him as our reconciled God, and fupreme 
portion and happinefs. This is indeed the reft of the gra- 
cious foul, which gives him more joy than all outward 
poffefiions taken together. His outward pofTeffions have 
no value, but as they flow from it, and lead back to it. 
He fays with the Pfalmift, Pfal. iv. 6, 7, 8, "There be 



124 ^^^ Christian'' s disposition umler 

" many that fay, Who will fliov/ us any good ? Lord, 
" lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou 
*' haft put gladnefs in my heart, more than in the time 
*'• that their corn and their wine increafed. I will both 
" lay me down in peace and fleep : for thou Lord only 
" makefl me dwell in fafety. Pfal. Ixxiii. 23, 25. Never- 
" thciefs I am continually with thee : thou haft holden me 
*' by my right hand. Thou fhalt guide me with thy coun- 
*' fel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I 
" in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon earth that 
" I defire befides thee." Now, my brethren, this reft is 
frequently difturbed, and meets with interruption in the 
prefent life. Sin is the chief caufe of interruption ; it 
raifes an interpofing cloud, and feparates between God 
and us. But it is alfo fometimes interrupted by afflidion, 
and diftreffes of various kinds. Thefe two caufes have a 
mutual relation, and a mutual influence one upon another. 
Afni^lions bring fin to remembrance, and fin fqueezesthe 
bittereft ingredients into the cup of afilidlion ; fo that it 
fometimes becomes a cup of trembling. The believer is 
often ready to miftake the rod of fatherly corredlion for the 
exterminating ftroke of avenging juftice : hence the bitter 
and heart melting complaints of many of the children of 
God. Job vi. 4. " For the arrows of the Almighty are 
" within me, the poifon whereof drinketh up my fpirit, 
*' the tenors of God do fet themfelves in array againft me." 
Pfal. xlii. 6, 7. " O my God, my foul is caft down with- 
*' in me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of 
*' Jord m, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. 
'■'■ Deep calleth unto deep at the noife of thy water-fpouts : 
" all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." Lam. 
iii. I, — 4. " lam the man that hath feen afflidion by the 
" rod of his wrath. Pie hath led me and brought me in- 
*' to darknefs, but not into light. Surely againft me is he 
" tnrned, he turneth his hand againft me all the day. My 
" flefti and my fl^in hath he made old, he hath broken my 
" bones." 

While this continues, the believer is excluded from his 
reft ; and indeed the more peace he can take in any thing, 
while at a diftancc from God, fo much the worfe fign it 



a sense of mercies received. 125 

is of his charader ; fo much the more fearful fymptom of 
his {late. But when the Lord hath loofened his bonds, 
lifted up his countenance upon him, and given him peace, 
is it not proper and natural for him to fay, Return unto 
thy rest, my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully 
'i;oith thee. When he hath feen the marks of diftinguifh- 
ing love in his mercies ; when he hath tafted confolation 
under fuffering, or communion with God, in public or in 
fecret, will not this difpofe him to reft in God, to improve 
the happy feafon, and defire its continuance ? All things 
elfe are vain, and have proved their vanity, but complete 
fatisfadlion is here. 

I have no doubt, my brethren, that this is, if not the 
only, yet one of the chief fenfes, in v/hich we ought to un- 
derltand thefe words. Reft, you know, fuppofes labor, 
and even wearinefs before. Reft alfo feems to imply that 
v/hich is the end of labor, or the defire of the weary. It 
alfo fignifies that which is to continue, or that we v^ifh to 
continue without further change. In this lenfe it is ufed, 
Pfal. cxxxii. 8, and 14, "Arife, O Lord, into thy reft, 
*' thou and the ark of thy ftrength. This is my reft for 
" ever ; here will I dwell ; for I have defired it :" which 
refers to the ark of the teftimony taking a fixed abode, and 
being no more carried about from place to place. The 
fame fenfe is conveyed to us by Heb. iv. 9, *' There re- 
" maineth therefore a reft to the people of God." When, 
therefore, the Pfalmift fays, Return unto thy rest, my 
soul, it means that God, and his favor, was his fupreme 
and ultimate defire, the very centre of his hope. Is it 
not fo with every real fervant of God ? All true religion 
l)oints to, and ends in this. All religion, without this, is 
an empty form. And when we return to this, after any 
interruption, is it not like the diftrefted mariner, after 
having been driven about in a tempeftuous ocean, and 
threatened every moment with deftruftion by the rifing 
billows, at laft obtaining fight, and entering with heart- 
felt joy into a haven of fecurity and peace .'' 

3. In the laft place, this expreflion implies a confidence 
and reliance on God for protection and fecurity againft 
future dangers. This feems neceflary to the complete- 



126 TJjc Christian'' s disposition under 

nefs and perfedlion of any deliverance. The danger may 
be warded ofF for a feafon ; if there is ground to fear its 
immediate or fpeedy return, the flate is very precarious, 
and the comfort very imperfeft ; but thofe who are deli- 
vered from fear of evil, and think they can depend upon 
their defence and guard, have received a deliverance in- 
deed. 

Now, this is the view which a believer is particularly 
led to take of God, as his fure and all-fufFicient help. He 
confiders the greatnefs of his power, the operation of his 
providence, and the faithfulnefs of his promife. How of- 
ten does the Ffalmift exprefs, in the mofi: triumphant 
•manner, his dependance upon God? Pfal. xviii. i, 2, 3. 
" I will love thee, O Lord, my flrength. The Lord is 
*' my rock, and my fortrefs, and my deliverer ; my God, 
" my flrength, in whom I will truft ; my buckler, and the 
** horn of my falvation, and my high tower. I will call 
" upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praifed ; fo fhall I 
*' be faved from mine enemies." Pfal. Ixii. 5, 6, 7. " My 
" foul, wait thou only upon God ; for my expectation is 
" from him. He only is my rock and my falvation ; he 
" is my defence ; I fhall not be moved. In God is my 
" falvation and my glory ; the rock of my flrength, and 
" my refuge is in God." Pfal. cxlvi. 5, 6. " Happy is he 
*' that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whofe hope is 
*' in the Lord his God ; which made heaven and earth, 
" the fea, and all that therein is, v/hich keepeth truth for 
*' ever." 

My brethren, this trufl: and dependance on God is a 
very confiderable part of the reft and comfort of the be- 
liever's foul. He is, on all hands, furrounded with ene- 
mies, liable to fuflering, expofed to temptations. The 
more he knovveth of himfelf, the more he feels his own in- 
herent weaknefs and infufliciency. But, in God, he fees 
full and adequate provifion for all his wants, Pfalm xxxiv. 
22. " The Lord redeemeth the foul of his fervants; and 
" none of them that truft in him fliall be defolate." 

This truft is alfo, in a particular manner, generated, by 
remembring the pall goodnefs, or by a fenfe of the recent 
mercy of God. We have daily experience of our own 



a sense ?}2ercies ofrecehed. 127 

weaknefs and unfteadinefs in this refpsft. When our 
hopes are in any meafure difappointed ; when calamities 
threaten ; when alflidions vifit us, we are ready to yield 
to the dark fuggeftions of fear and defpondence ; but 
when we contemplate the great goodnefs of God on for- 
mer occafions, or when we have met with any fmgular 
manifeftation of his grace and favor, it ferves to (Irength- 
en our confidence, and often, indeed, to cover us with 
fliame for our unbelief and difirufi. On the whole, then, 
a believer who imitates the Pfalmift in this cxprefTion, 
Return unto thy rest^ my soul^ may be fuppofed to fay, 
" Thou hail tailed, O my foul, of the loving kindnefs of 
" God I he hath brought thee out of deep waters ; he hath 
" calmed thy fears ; he hath fet thy feet upon a rock ; he 
" hath eilabliflied thy goings ; Blufli, blufli ! when thou 
" confiderefl how eafily thy confidence was fliaken ; how 
" prone thou wafl to fink under afflidlion; and, upon every 
" new trial, to doubt his power, and difirufi; his promife. 
" But, now, return unto thy refl: ; lay afide thy fears, 
" which have fo unhappy an influence both on thy pro- 
" grefs and comfort. Commit thy ways to him, and he 
" will bring thy defires to pafs." 

I come now, in the lail place, to make feme practical 
improvement of what hath been faid : And, ill. From 
what hath been faid, you may obferve one great branch of 
the finfulnefs of the world in general ; forgetfulnefs of 
God ; and unthankfulnefs for his mercies. How little 
fenfe of the divine goodnefs is in the hearts of men ? how 
formal, cold, and frozen their language in praife ] how 
languid their endeavors to ferve him, from whofe indul- 
gent hand every bleffing they enjoy flows ? One would 
think that here might be fome hold even of worldly men, 
who have not wholly extinguifhed the light of natural 
confcience. The greateil: part of this dilcourfe has been 
dire6led to thofe of another charadter. Suffer me, now, 
to fpeak a little immediately to them. You are not infenfi- 
ble to worldly comforts ; on the contrary, you love them 
too ardently ; you feek them too eagerly ; you indulge 
them too liberally. Confidev, I befeech you, who it is that 



12! 



The Christiav^s disposition under 



beftowed them ; who it is, that, when he pleafeth, can 
blall them to you, or withdraw them from you. O the 
blindnefs and infatuation of mortal men ! How p'afling 
and tranfitory are all created comforts ! How certain and 
fpeedy the approach of death and judgment ! Thinknvhat 
return you hav^ made for all the goodnefs of God toward 
you from the womb even till now. And let me beg every 
hearer to recolledt how far he {l:inds indebted to God for 
continued health, for plentiful provifion, for remarkable 
deliverances, for early inflrudlion, for providential v/arn- 
ings. And if God, by his Spirit, has raifed convictions 
in your minds, or earneftly pleaded with you in his gofpel, 
in what a terrifying light will all this defpifed goodnefs 
appear, when you come to the brink of that gulf which l"e- 
parates you from an eternal world, but, above all, when 
you appear before God in an unembodied flate ? It is my 
duty to fet this before you with plainnefs and fidelity ; it 
is your prefent privilege, that you hear the things that be- 
long to your everlafting peace. May God himfelf write 
them upon your hearts, and condrain you to flee, by faith, 
to the blood of fprinkling, which fpeaketh better things 
than the blood of Abel. 

2dly. Let me alfo befeech every ferious perfon, who 
now hears me, to confider how tar he hath finned againfl 
God and his own comfort, by forgetting the goodnefs of 
God, both in common and fpecial mercies. It is fur- 
prifmg to think how little we make confcience of this du- 
ty, and even when it is remembered in fome meafure, in 
ivhat a lifelefs, heartlefs manner it is performed. How 
little proportion is there between the prayers of dillrefs, 
and the fongs of deliverance ? how little fenfe upon our 
minds of the many gracious interpofitions of divine Provi- 
dence incur favor ? If he hath invited us to communion 
with himfelf; if he hath brought us into the fecret cham- 
bers, and made his banner over us to be love, how foon is 
it forgotten f how little deftre of its continuance ? what 
faint endeavors to recover it ? how little concern to im- 
prove it ? Strange, indeed, that fome, after tailing of the 
heavenly manna, fhould feel fo unfeemly a longing after 
the flefa-pots of Egypt. 



a sense of metcies received. 129 

But do you not fm as much againfl intere-ft and com- 
fort, as 5'our duty ? To forget a mercy, is to lofe it ; to 
give thanks for it, is to preferve and increafe it. It is a 
very common miflake for ferious perfons to fit brooding 
over their forrows, and, by that means, at once, to in- 
creafe their fufFerings, and to prevent their deUverance. 
I do not know a more ufefsl direftion to melancholy or 
dejeded Chriftians, than by a deliberate effort of mind, 
from a fenfe of duty, to recolleft, and give praile to God 
for the many mercies which he hath beftowed on them. 
This may be a happy mean of fdencing their complaints, 
t)f turning the tide of their afleclions, and giving theni 
" beauty for afhes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the 
*' garment of praife for the fpirit of heavinefs." Is not 
thankfulnefs the improvement of mercies ? and hath net 
God faid, to him that " hath fliall be given, and he fliall 
*• have more abundantly; and from him that hath not 
" lliall be taken away even that which he feemeth to 
*' have." 

3dly, I fliall conclude, with offering the three following 
directions to thofe who are truly fenfible of the goodnefs 
of God. 

1. Be circumfpeCl and watchful; though a thankful 
frame of fpirit is of great advantage, both for your fan6li- 
fication and peace, yet it is not out of the reach of tempta- 
tion ; let it not produce pride, fecurity or feJf-fufficiency. 
It is an excellent direction given by the Pfalmifi: to men 
in high flation and profperity, Pfalm ii. 11, " Serve the 
" Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling," Take 
heed alfo, left it degenerate into carnal and fenfual joy, 
making you reft v/ith complacency in the creature, inltead 
of being led by it to place your delight and happinefs in 
the unchangeable Creator. 

2. Be public-fpirited and ufeful ; if the Lord H?ltli 
dealt bountifully with you, commend his fervice, and 
fpeak to his praife. This was often the refolution and 
practice of the Pfalmift David, Pfalm ixvi. 16. " Come 
" and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what 
" he hath done for my foul." Pfal. cxlv, 5, 6, 7. "I will 
*' fpeak of the glorious honor of thy majefty, and of thy 

Vol. II. R 



130 The Christian'' s disposition under 

" wondrous works ; and men fhall fpeak of the might of 
** thy terrible a£ts; and I will declare thy greatnefs. They 
*' fhall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodnefs* 
*' and fliall fing of thy rtghteoufnefs.'* Let me recommend 
this particularly to Chriflians of age and experience. It 
gives religion a very difcouraging afpedt to younger per- 
fons, when fuch have nothing to utter but complaints. 
On the contrary, where can we behold a more edifying 
fight, than an aged perfon ready to bear teftimony to the 
peace and comfort of true religion, dying by necelTity to 
the pleafures and gaities of time, but living above them on 
the earneft of his future inheritance ; and, inftead of a 
fretful fpiiit arifmg from the frailties of a tottering frame, 
preferving a chearfulnefs and ferenity of mind, in the 
hope of a blefled refurre^tion. — I imagine I hear fome fay, 
nothing is more true; but, alas! I am not the perfon : I 
fee nothing in me, but caufes of complaint, or grounds 
of fear. 1 believe it is fo with all; but you have miltaken, 
or perverted the meaning of the exhortation. I did not 
advife you to boall ofyourfelf, but to fpeak to the praife 
of God. I believe it is good, in mofl cafes, to refift def- 
ponding fears, as fo many temptations, and fend them 
away, as hinderers of your duty, without a reply. Or, 
may I not juflly fay, admitting the truth of all that you 
can advance againll yourfelves, is it not but fo much the 
more reafonable, that you ihould fay with Jacob, Gen. 
xxxii. 10, "lam not worthy of the leail of all the mer- 
*' cies, and of all the truth, that thou hall fliewed unto 
" thy fcrvant," 

3. Be frequent and diligent in fecret prayer. This is 
the way to preferve your watchfulnefs, and to increafe 
your ufefulnefs. The more you converfe v/ith God in fe- 
cret, you v/ill fpeak with the more judgment and profit to 
men in puMic. This is the way to difpofe of }'Our com- 
plaints. What fignifies repeating them to men, who may 
ilefpife you, and, at belt, can only pity you, when you 
may carry them to God, who can effeftually help you ? 
Speak as much ill of yourfelves to him as you pleafe ; but 
be fo juit as to fpeak honorably of him, and his fervice, 
to others who converfe v\ith you. — Now, may the Lord 



a seme of mercies rec^ehed, 131 

fupply all your wants, from his riches in glory, by Chrlfl 
Jefus. May he give you the fandlified ufe of every ftep 
of his providencCj whether of mercy or of trial. " May 
" the God of peace, Heb. xiii. 20, 21, that brought again 
" from the dead our Lord Jefus, that great Shepherd of the 
" flieep, through the blood of the everlafting covenant, 
" make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, 
*' working in you that which is well-pleafing in his fight, 
" through Jefus Ghrift ; to whom be glory for ever and 
" ever, Amen." 



[ 133 ] 



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A VIEW OF THE GLORY of GOD HUMBLING to the 

SOUL. 



SERMON 22. 



JOB >:lii. 5,6. 

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; hut now miiia 
eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in 
dust and ashes. 



"Y brethren, we can have no experimental know- 
ledge ; and, indeed, we have not much diftinft 
knowledge at all of the nature of religion, as it takes 
place among angels, and other intelligent beings, who 
have kept their firft cftate, and never were polluted by 
fm. From fome things, however, recorded in fcripture, 
we have reafon to believe that they appear before God 
with the greatefi: lowlinefs and felf-abafement, that they 
are at all times deeply penetrated with a fenfe of the infi- 
nite difproportion between themfelves, as derived, depen- 
dant, limited, imperfedl beings, and the eternal, immu- 
table, omnipotent Jehovah. Thus in the vifion of Ifaiah, 
in the fixth chapter of that book, verfe i, 2, 3, " In the 
" year that KingUzziah died, I faw the Lord fitting upon 
" a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the 
" temple. Above it flood die leraphims ; each one had 
'* fix wings ; with twain he covered his face, and with 
" twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 
" And one cried unto another, and faid, Holy, holy, holy, 



134 "^ ^'^w of the glory of God 

*■'■ is the Lord of Hods, the whole earth is full of his glo- 
" ry." But if this is the cafe with thefe exalted and hap- 
py fplrits, how much more mufl: a deep humiliation of 
mind be neceflary to us, who, by fin, have rendered our- 
felves the jufl: objefts of divine wrath, and whofe hope of 
falvation is founded only on the riches of divine grace ? 
We ought never to forget, that every inftance of the fa- 
vor of God to man, is not to be confidered as the exercife 
of goodnefs to the worthy, nay, not merely as bounty 
to the needy, or help to the miferable, but mercy to the 
guilty. 

For this reafon, as repentance is neceflary to every fm- 
ner, in order to his reconciliation with God, fo thofc 
Chriftians preferve the jufteft views of their prefent ftate 
and character, as well as the foundation of their hope, who 
frequently renew this falutary exercife. I cannot help 
laying further, that thofe make the wifeft provifion for the 
prefervation of their inward peace, who frequently water 
that tender plant with the tears of penitential forrow. 
To ainn: you in this exercife, and to point out the proper 
grounds of it, I have chofen to infift a little on thefe words, 
jn which you fee the efFe6l which a difcovery of the glory 
and majelly of God had upon his fervant Job : / have 
beard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; but now mine 
eye seeth thee. Wherefore 1 abhor myself and repent it} 
dust and ashes. 

It is not neceflary to my prefent purpofe, to enter far 
into the difpute between Job and his friends, although, no 
doubt, the words of the text have an evident relation to it. 
The controvcrfy feems plainly to have turned upon this 
point. His friends finding him in deep diftrefs, under 
the mofl complicated affliftion, would needs have it, that 
no good man could be fo frowned upon by a righteous 
God ; and therefore, that his former profeflion mufl have 
been hypocritical and falfe. This is evident from the 
manner in which Eliphaz opens the charge againil him, 
chap. iv. 6, 7, 8, 9. " Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, 
*' thy hope, and the uprightnefs of thy ways ? Remember, 
" I pray thee, who ever periftied, being innocent ? or 
*' where were the righteous cut ofl? Even as I have feen, 



humbling to the Soul. 



i:) 



" they that plow iniquity, and fow wickednefs, reap the 
** fame. By the blaft of God they perilh, and by the 
" breath of his noftrils are they confumed." In oppofi- 
tion to this, Job aflerts and maintains his integrity in ge- 
neral, and withal, affirms their opinion to be falle, for 
that God, in his juft and fovereign providence, brings af- 
flidlion both on the righteous and the wicked. That this 
is the proportion which he all along endeavors to fupport, 
is plain, as from many other paflages, fo particularly from 
chap. ix. 22. " This is one thing, therefore I laid it, he 
" dedroyeth the perfect, and the wicked." 

Thus flood the matter, in difpute, between Job and his 
friends, in which, though that good man had fupported 
the truth, on the fubjedl of divine Providence ; yet, in the 
heat of the debate, and the anguifh of his own fufterings^ 
he had let fall fome expreffions, not only of impatience, 
but of difrefpeft to the condu6l of the Lord his Maker. 
For thefe he was firfl: reproved by Elihu, and afterwards, 
tvith unfpeakable force and majefty, by God himfelf, who 
alTertsthefovereignty of his power, and the righteoufnefs 
of his providence* On this difcovery of the glory of di- 
vine perfection, the fufferer was deeply humbled, and ex- 
prefles a fenfe of his own vilenefs and folly, in the 4th 
and 5th verfes of the fortieth chapter : " Behold, I am 
'* vile, what Ihall I anfwer thee ? 1 will lay mine hand 
" upon my mouth. Once have I fpoken, but I Vv'ill not 
" anfwer ; yea, twice, but I will proceed no further." 
And, again, in the beginning of the forty-fecond chapter, 
concluding with the words of the text. 

It is not improbable, from the beginning of the thirty- 
eighth chapter, that it plcafed God to give Job fome vifible 
reprefentation of his glory and omnipotence. This was 
not unufual, in ancient times, before the canon of the 
fcripture was clofed. But, no doubt, the difcovery which 
chiefly affefted him was inward and fpiritual, carrying 
home, with irrefiftible force, the great truths which we llili 
find recorded in a manner inimitably noble and fublime. 
I han^e heard of thee, fays he, by the hearing of the ear ; 
but now mine eye seeth thee. This implies, that, as feeing 
gives a more dillinct, full, and fatisfying knowledge of 



136 A vie%[) of the glory of God 

any thing, than hearing of it only by the report of others, 
the impreflions which he then had of the majeily and glory 
of God, were far ftronger than any he had ever felt before. 
— Therefore^ fays he, I abhor myself. It filled him with 
ielf-lothing and abhorrence. — And I repent in dust and 
ashes. This is either, in general, a llrong exprelhon of 
deep penitence and forrow, of which dull and aflies were 
anciently the figns ; or, perhaps, it has a particular refer- 
ence to his prefent miferable and afHided flate, defcribed 
in chapter ii. 8. " And he took him a potllierd to fcrapc 
*' himfelf withal ; and he fat doAvn among the afhes." As 
if he had faid, Lord, I am deeply fenfible of the evil of 
every rafli word, of every rebellious thought. I confefs, 
that thou haft affliQed me in truth and faithfulnefs ; and 
that, in this low and defolate condition, it becomes me to 
lay my hand upon my mouth, and to repent of that guilt 
which would have fully juftified thy providence in a ilill 
heavier llroke. 

The words thus explained, prefent to us this general 
and moft important truth, that a difcovery of the perfec- 
tion, glory, and majefty of God, has a powerful influence 
in leading us to repentance ; and that the clearer this dif- 
covery si, the more fmcere Vvill be our repentance, and the 
deeper our humiliation. In difcourfing further on this 
fubjedt, at prefent, I propofe, only, through Divine affill- 
ance, 

I. To make feme obfervations, at once to illullrate and 
confirm the propofition above laid down, as to die efie^t 
of a difcovery of the glory of God. And, in die 

II. And laft place, to make fonie practical improve- 
ment of what Ihall be faid. 

I. Then, I am to make fome obfervations, at once to 
explain and confirm the propofition juft now laid down, 
as to the efl'etSl of a difcovery of the glory of God. But, 
before we enter on what is principally intended, I muPt 
intreat your attention to the following preliminary re- 
marks : 



humbling io the Soul, 137 

1. That this truth will hold equall}'- certain in whate- 
ver way the difcovery is made. It may pleafe God to 
manifeli himfelf to his people in very dlfFcrent ways. 
Sometimes it may be in a way wholly, or in part, miracu- 
lous, as in the cafe of Job, Ifaiah, and fome others men- 
tioned in fcripture; fomctimes by affefting difpenfati- 
ons of Providence ; fomedmes by his ordinances, or in- 
ftituced worfhip, accompanied with the operation of his 
Spirit; and fometimes by this la(l alone, without the help 
oracccflion of any outward mean. 

2. I hope it will not be thoup^ht improper, that, in rea- 
fonin.Gj on the influence of a difcovery of the glory of God» 
I fometimes bring in view the additional manifellations 
given us in the gofpel, of the divine glory. This, to be 
fure, could not befuppofedto make a part of what was 
difcovered to Job, to whom that myRery, hid from ages 
and generations, and only opened in the fulnefs of time, 
was very obfcurely, if at all known. But the example, 
•afforded us in the text, leads us to a general truth ; in the 
illuitration and application of which, we may make ufe of 
all that is knov/n to us of the nature and government of 
God. The 

3. And principal remark is, that, when I fpeak of the 
influence of a difcovery of the glory of God, I mean an 
internal and fpiritual difcovery, and not fuch a knowledge 
as is merely fpecuiative, and refls in the underftanding, 
without defcending into the heart. There is a common 
dilUntlion to be met with in almoft every praftical writer, 
between knowledge merely fpecuiative, thatfwimsin the 
head, and practical or faving knowledge, that dwells in 
and governs the heart. That there is fuch a diliinftion in 
fadt, experience obliges every man to confefs : but it is 
extremely difficult to fpeak in a clear and precife manner 
upon it ; to tell wherein it confills ; or to fhow how thefe 
two forts of knowledge differ otherwife,tlian by their eff<s6lr. 
Yet even to point out their radical difference, feems ne- 
ceilary to me, who propofe to fliow the happy influence 
and powerful efficacy of this knowledge, when it is of the 
right kind. 

Vol. II. S 



138 J FUw of the Glory of God 

For this purpofe, m}' brethren, be pleafed to obferve, 
that a barren fpeculative knowledge of God, is that which 
fixes chiefly on his natural perfections ; or, if it be fup- 
poled to take in fuch as are moral, it is only to reafon up- 
on them as an objedl of faience; but the true knowledge of 
God, is an inward and fpiritual difcovery of the amiable- 
nefs and excellence of his moral perfections ; or, to fpeak 
more in the fcripture %le, to perceive that he is indeed 
" glorious in his holinefs. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord 
" of hofis." This is the language of celeflial adoration, 
of thofe who " fee him as he is, and know even as they 
" are known." The fame, in fome meafure, is the vievr 
given to every real child of God on earth, and, alone, 
ierves todillinguifli his children of every rank, and every 
degree of capacity, from others of an oppofite character. 
Let me fuppofe a poor Chrillian, weak in underlianding, 
and unaffiikd hy education, who is witnefs to any extra- 
ordinary acl of divine power : for example, a thunder 
florm, feeming to rend the heavens afunder, and either 
laying fome ancient and venerable pile in allies, or, per- 
haps, ilrikingfoine perfons to death, in a manner fvvifter 
than thought ; he is immediately affefted with a fenfe of 
the fovercignty of the Lord of nature, the holinefs of eve- 
ry part of his will, the duty of abfolute fubjeCtion in the 
creature, and the finfulnefs of every rebellious thought. 
But, above all, he is (truck with a fenfe of the malignity 
of fm, which has introduced fo many natural evils, and, 
as it were, armed the iVicenfed elements in their Maker's 
caufe. Such a perfon, though he can exprefshis thoughts 
but very poorly, nay, though he can hardly fpeak to 
others with coherence or confiUency, fees much more of 
God, than he who can reafon on the planetary fyllem ; 
who can trace the beauty, variety, and extent of the Crea- 
tor's works, and thence infer the neceflity of a felf-exilt- 
ent, almighty, and intelligent firft caufe. The one may 
expatiate on the wonderful v.orks, or the wife purpofes, 
of the Author of nature ; the other feels and confefles him 
to be God. Alas ! my brethren, we fee too often, that 
knowledge and holinefs in us, do not bear proportion one 
to another. We ice every day examples of ihe grtattR 



humhl'mg to the Soul. 139 

intellectual abilities, the nobleft natural talents, being 
abufed to the word of purpofes; for fuch I mud always 
reckon, their ferving no higher end than to adorn and fet 
off the poflefTor, or burn incenfe to human vanit3^. — By a 
difcovery, then, of the perfedions, majefly, and glory of 
God, I underfland the glory of his infinite holinefs ; that 
holinefs which is infeparable from his nature, which fliines 
in all his works, and in all his ways. 

Thefe obfervations being premifed, let us now confi- 
der what influence a difcovery of the glory of God hath in 
producing repentance, and increafmg humility. And, 
in the 

id Place, It hath this effecl, as it tends to convince us 
of fin, and particularly, to bring to light thefe innumera- 
ble evils, which a deceitful heart often, in a great mea- 
fure, hides from its own view. There is, if I may ipeak 
io^ a light and glory in the prefence of God which difco- 
vers and expofesthe v/orks of darknefs. That a view of 
the divine Majedy has adrong tendency to give us a deep 
fenfe of our own finfulnefs, is plain from many fcripture 
examples. That of Job, in our text, is one direftly in 
point. Another you have in Ifaiah, ch. vi. 5. where thd 
refledion of the prophet, on a view of the divine glory, 
is, " Wo is me ! for I am undone ; becaufe I am a man 
'' of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midd of a people of 
*' unclean lips : for mine eyes have feen the King, the 
" Lord of hods." Another indance you may fee in the 
apodle John, who upon a view of the Redeemer in his 
glory, was, in a manner, deprived of life, through ex- 
cefiilve fear. Rev. i. 17. " And when I faw him, I fell at 
" his feet as dead." The only other indance I mention is 
of the apodle Peter, who, on the unexpe6led appearance, 
or rather from a view of the power of Chrid, manifeded 
in a miracle, was immediately druck with a fenfe of guilt, 
Luke V. 8. " When Simon Peter faw it, he fell down at 
*' Jefus' knees, faying, depart from me, for I am finful 
" man, O Lord.'' 

It is not difficult to explain how a view of the divine 
holinefs tends to difcover and to ade6l us with a fenfe of 
our finfulnefs. Nothing makes any quality appear fa 



140 A View of the Glory of God 

fenfibly as a comparifon with its oppofite. The applicati. 
on of a ftraight rule marks the obliquity of a crooked line ; 
nay, it ijjarks even the leall degree of variation, which by 
a lefs accurate trial would not have been difcovered. Any 
piece of deformity appears more hideous and fliocking 
when compared with perfect beauty. For the fame rea- 
fon, a clear view of the holinefs of God, and a fenfe of his 
intimate prefence with us, tends to bring fin to remem, 
brance, as well as to cover us with confufion for thofe fins, 
which before we were able to juRify, palliate, or conceal. 
We are exprefsly afl^ured that our firll parents, immedi- 
ately after eating the forbidden fruit, were fenfible of their 
guilt, and I cannot think they were wholly infenfible of 
the omnifcience and omni prefence of God. Yet we find 
that their fear greatly increafed (doubtlefs from a fenfe of 
|in) when they heard God's voice in the garden. Gen. iii. 
8. " And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking 
*' in the garden in the cool of the day : and Adam and his 
■' wife hid themfelves from the prefence of the Lord God 
^' amongd the trees of the garden." 

You may take a very plain and fimple illuftration of 
this from daily experience. Are there not fome perfons 
of loofe principles and irregular praftice, who, when by 
themfelves, or in fociety like themfelves, juftify many of 
their fins, and to all appearance, comn^it them without 
remorfe, as innocent, if not laudable ? But let the fame 
perfons be carried into fober company, efpecially into the 
prefence of any perfon eminent for piety and gravity, and 
they will be retrained and afliamed, and not able to open 
their mouths in defence of their licentious carriage. The 
mere prefence of fuch a perfon carries inllant irrcfillible 
conviiVion with it, by forcing a comparifon between piety 
and profanity ; that is to fay, good and evil, light and 
darknefs. So certain a truth is this, that one of the anci- 
ent heathen authors gives it as a rule for moral conduit, 
'• that men fnould always imagine themfelves in the pre- 
" fence of fuch a man as Cato, renowned fur gravity and 
" virtue." But if the fancied prefence of a mortal, in 
whom fome faint rays, if I may fpeak h^ of the divine 
In]age appear by reflexion, has fo much influence, how 



humbUng to the Soul. 14T 

much greater would be the efFeiSl of a firm perfuafion of 
the real prefence of a holy God, " who is of purer eyes 
*' than to behold iniquity r" What is it elfe thar^this that 
makes wicked men flee the fociety of the good as painful, 
and fhun the thoughts of God as intolerable ; fo that it is 
the fcripture charaQer of fuch, that they fay unto their 
jMaker, practically, " Depart from us, for we defire not 
*' the knowledge of thy ways." 

2. A difcovery of the glory of God ferves to point out 
the evil of fin, the aggravations of particular fins, and to 
take away the excufes of the finner. Let us remember 
what I obferved in a preceding part of this difcourfe, that 
it muft be a difcovery of the glory of the divine holinefs ; 
not only a knowledge of the true God, and underfianding 
what he is, but a view of his infinite glory and beauty in 
being fuch. It mud neceflarily fet the evil of fin in the 
cleared light, that all fin, as fuch, firikes immediately at 
the very being and perfeiStions of God. "When the law 
of God fliews us cur fins, we may be ready to complain of 
its firidtnefs and feverity, and wifli to flip our necks from 
under the yoke. But when v/e fee that the law could not 
be othervvife than it is, without being faulty ; when we fee 
that it is nothing elfe but a fair tranfcript of the moral per- 
fedlons of God ; and v;hen we look up to the great and 
bright original, it mufi: convince us that all fin is a direct 
opjX)fition to the nature, as well as a rebellion again ft the 
will of God. If he is infinitely perfect and glorious, fin 
muft be infinitely hateful and abominable. No man can 
plead for fin, in any inllance or in any degree, but he mull 
blafpheme the nature and perfedions of God, to which it 
flands in oppofition. 

All men, indeed, by nature, are enemies to God him- 
felf, in their minds, by wicked works ; and they hate his 
law, becaufe it is fpiritual and pure. There are alfo too 
many in this age, who have very relaxed principles as to 
the extent and obligation of the lav/, and, of confequence, 
very flight thoughts of the evil of fin. But a view of the 
glory of God rectifies, at once, thefe fatal errors, and car- 
ries home fuch conviftion of the rights of the Creator, the 
<?bligation and fubjeSlion of the creature, and the beauty 



142 A Fieiu of the Glory of God 

and excellence of that image which Was ftained by fin, as 
forces us to adopt the language of the Holy Ghoft ; '•'■ How 
*' evil and how bitter a thing is it to depart from the living 
" God 1" God grant that there may be many in this af- 
iembly, who underhand and feel the force of this truth ! 
There is need, my brethren, to attend to it ; for all con- 
vi^Vions of fin, which do not proceed from this fource, or 
do not neceffarily include this view, whatever pain or ter- 
ror they may occafion, will prove empty and fruitlefs at 
lad:. Though there may be a flavifh fear of the power of 
God, unlefs there be a view of the infinite evil of fin, there 
cannot be any lading and faving change. 

The fame view alfo points out the aggravation of par- 
ticular fins. The more clearly we underfiand the nature 
of God, our relation to, and dependance upon him, the 
more will we perceive the aggravation of every fin which 
burfis afunder thefe bonds. A view of the glory of God 
mull either be general or particular ; or, perhaps, for the 
moll part, there is a mixture of both. My meaning is, 
that when there is a difcovery of the glory of God in gene- 
ral, there is often, at the fame time, a peculiar and firiking 
difplay of fonie one attribute, of power, wifdom, judice, or 
mercy. Now how flirongly does this imprefs upon the 
mind, a fenfe of the evil of thofe fins which ftrike cHre(5tly 
againfl: that perfedlion which happens to be fet in the 
ilrongeft point of view ? When any difplay is given of 
the omnifcience of God, how doss it make us fenfible of 
the impiety and folly of fecret fins? Dan. ii. 47. " The 
*' King anfwered unto Daniel, and faid, Of a truth it is, 
" that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, 
" and a revealer of fecrets, feeing thou couldefl reveal this 
*' fecret." When the power of God is made manifefi, 
how does it aggravate the guilt of prefumption and confi- 
dence? Ifa. xlv. 9. "Wo unto him that firiveth with 
" his Maker : let the potflierd drive with the potdierds of 
" the earth. Shall the clay fay to him that fafhioneth it, 
" what maked thou ? or thy work, he hath no hands ?" 

When the wifdom of God is difplayed, doth not then 
all didrud appear highly criminal ? Ought we not to fay 
with the Pfalmid, Pfiil. xxvii. 1. " The Lord is my light, 



humbling to the SoiiL J43 

" and my falvation, whom jfhall I fear ? the Lord is the 
" ftrength of my life, of whom Ihall I be afraid ?" When 
we have a view of our abfolute dependance upon, and un- 
fpeakable obhgations to the divine bounty, what a fenfe 
does this give us of the fin of unthankfuhiefs, and forget- 
fulnefs of God? Of how many unhappy fenfualifis may 
this complaint be made? Ifa. i. 2,3. '' Hear, O heavens, 
" and give ear, O earth ; for the Lord hath fpoken. I have 
*' nouriflied and brought up children, and they have re- 
" belled againil me. The ox knoweth his owner, and 
*' the al's his mafter's crib : but Ifrael doth not know, my 
*' people doth not confider." Without any further enu- 
iTieration, it will appear undeniable, that the clearer the 
difcovery of the glory of God, the more mufl not only the 
evil of fin in general appear, but every particular crime 
mull be loaded with new aggravations. I carmot help 
mentioning here, in a few words, that tliis is the immedi- 
ate efFedt of a difcovery of the glory of God, as it fhines 
in Jefus Chrifi-. The unmerited, unparalleled love, ma- 
nifefted to finners in the gofpel, greatly aggravates their 
ingratitude and rebellion. And the more that believers 
reflect upon their own condud:, and compare it with the 
grace and condefcenfion of their Redeemer, the more they 
mufl: abhor thenisehes, a?id repent in dust and ashes. 

I only add, on this head, that a difcovery of the glory 
of God takes away the excufes of the finner. How prone 
men are to excufe and palliate their fins, we all know by 
experience. It is a light fenfe of the evil of fin, that leads 
us to commit it ; and there is no reafon to be furprifed, if 
this, joined with feif-interell, makes us ingenious inform- 
ing an apology for it after the commiffion. Hence often 
arife hard thoughts of the threatenings of God againfi: fin, 
as fevere. Hence alfo unbelieving thoughts, which will 
not admit, that ever he will fulfil his word, or execute 
the threatened judgment. But a difcovery of the glory of 
God, particularly of his infinite holinefs, by fiiewing the 
evil of fin in its proper colours, fiops every mouth, drags 
the finner into the prefence of his Judge, and ilrips the 
guilty criminal of every x'ain plea. AVe lee plainly, in 
the cafe of Job, that he had fuch a view of the power, do- 



144 -^ ^^^'^^ of the Glory of God 

minion, and abfolute fovereignty of God, as put him ni- 
tirely to filence, and convinced him, that there was no 
room for contending ; no place for comparifon between 
fo unequal (mull I call them) parties, God and man, Job 
xl. 4. " Behold I am vile ; what fliall I anfvver thee ? . I 
" will lay my hand upon my mouth." 

This right of fovereignty in God, and the duty of ab- 
folute, immediate, unconditional fubje6lion in the crea- 
ture, I find plainly and frequently edabhflied in fcripture. 
It is, indeed, entirely in this llyle, which may well be 
called the flyle of the King of kings, that God f peaks to 
Job in the tour chapters preceding that where my text 
Jies. Though he is brought in fpeaking, to refolve a dif- 
ficulty in providence ; yet, you may obferve, he does not 
lay one word as to the juilice of his proceeding; but, un- 
der many of the llrongefl images, fets forth his irrefillible 
power, chap, xxxviii. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, " Who is this that 
*' darkeneth counfel by words without knowledge? Gird 
" up now thy loins like a man; for 1 will demand of thee, 
" and anfvver thou me. Where wail thou when I laid 
" the foundations of the earth ? Declare, if thou hafl 
*' underflanding. Who hath laid the meafures thereof, 
'' if thou knoweft ? or who hath ftretched the line upon it? 
" Whereupon are the foundations thereof fallened ? or 
•' who laid the corner (lone thereof ?" And, again, chap. 
xl. 8, 9, 10, II. "Wilt thou alfo difannul my judgment? 
*' wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayed be righteous ? 
" Haft thou an arm like God? or canll thou thunder with 
*' a voice like him ? Deck thyfclf now with majcily and 
*' excellency, and array thyfelf with glory and beauty. 
" Gall abroad the rage of thy wrath : and behold every 
" one that is proud, and abafe him." 

The fovereignty of God, is what, of all things elfe, fni- 
ners, while they continue in ihat character, are leall ca- 
pable of underllanding, and leafl wiUini;^ to fubuiit to. 
This is not to be wondered at ; becaufe the very nature of 
fni confiils in calling off our allegiance, and, as far as in 
us lies, reje(5ling the authority of God. But, my brethren, 
a real difcovery of his glory, at once, raifes liim to the 
throne, and humbles us at his footilool, and is, as if vvc 



humbling /t? the Soul. 145 

heard a voice from heaven, addreffed to us in the following 
linking words, lia. ii. 10, 11. " Enter into the rock, and 
*' hide thee in the duft, for fear of the Lord, and for the 
" glory of his majelly. The lofty looks of man fhall be 
" humbled, and the haughtinefs of men lliall be bowed 
"down; and the Lord alone fliall be exalted in diat day." 
One who hath lb known God, will perceive, that there 
can be no more proper reply to objections, on the part of 
man, to the divine procedure, than that of the apoflle Paul, 
Rom. ix. 20. " Nay, but, O man, who art thou that re- 
" plied againfl: God :" 

"3. A difcovery of the glory of God ferves to point out 
the danger of fm. It is the hope of impunity, that em- 
boldens the linner to tranfgrefs, and to perfifl in his tranf- 
greffions. For this reafon, we find the fcriptures, in ge- 
neral, attributing the impenitence of fmners to thefe tw^o 
great fources, ignorance and unbelief, Pfal. xiv. i. *'The 
" fool hath faid in his heart, there is no God." And, ia 
verfe 4. " Have all the workers of iniquity no know- 
" ledge ?" that is to fay, fuch bold rebellion in their con- 
du6\ plainly difcovers the atheifm of their hearts. To the 
fame purpofe, Pfalm x. 11, 13, " He hath faid in his 
" heart, God hath forgotten ; he hidcth his f.Ke ; he will 
" never fee it. — Wherefore doth the wicked contemn 
*' God ? He hath faid in his heart, thou wilt not require 
" it." But a difcovery of the divine glory, at once de- 
flroys the foundation of this flupid fecurity, and impious 
preiumption. It realizes the xtvy being of God more 
than before, as is plainly implied in the words of Job : / 
have heard of thee vjitb the hearhigof the ear ; but noiii 
mine eye seeth thee. It makes his prefence fenfible, and 
teaclies us, that " all things are naked before him." So 
that there is no hope of lying concealed. It fcts before us 
his holinefs and juftice; that he is of purer eyes than to 
behold iniquity. So that, while his nature continues the 
fame, the guilty and impenitent cannot j)offibly obtain 
pardon. Above all, it fets before us the terror of his pow- 
er, which is infinite and boundlefs ; fo that nothing can 
be more vain, than for the fmner to hope eidierto efcapa 
or refift. 

Vol. ii. T 



146 A J^iev) of the Glory of God 

Agreeably to all this, we find, that, in the holy fcrip- 
tures, in which God hath been pleafed to make himfelf 
known to us by external revelation, it is by aflerting, and, 
as it were, difplaying, and producing to view, the glory 
of his infinite perfed^tion, that he endeavours to deter us 
from fin, and animate or encourage us to duty. When 
God gave the law to the children of Ifrael, he gave them, 
at the fame time, a difplay of his greatnefs and majefty in 
a very awful manner. To exprefs his fovereign authori- 
ty, and the abfolute propriety he had in them, he intro- 
duces it with thefe words : " I am the Lord, thy God, 
*' which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the 
" houfe of bondage." You may alfo remember, how of- 
ten, in appointing the feveral Mofaic conltitutions, thefe 
fignificative words are repeated, / am the Lord. In the 
fame manner, to imprefs his people with a fenfe of the 
evil of fin, as committed againll luch a God, he declares 
his own abfolute dominion, Mai. i. 14. '' But curfed be 
" the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and vow- 
*' eth and facrificeth to the Lord a corrupt thing ; for I am 
" a great Pving, faith the Lord of holis, and my name is 
" dreadful among the heathen." 

V/hen he would give his people a deep conviction of 
the folly and danger of fecret fins, he fets I'orth his omni- 
fcience and omniprefence, Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. " Am I a 
*' God at hand, and not a God afar ofl'f Can any hide 
*' himfelf in fecret places, that I fiiall not fee him ? faith 
*' the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth ? faith the 
" Lord." When he would exprefs the danger of obfiina- 
cy and difobedience, he gives a very lively idea of his 
infinite power, Jer. v. 22. " Fear ye not me? faith the 
'' Lord : Vv'ill ye not tremble at my prefence, which have 
*•• placed the fand for the bound of the fca, by a perpetual 
" decree, that it cannot pafs it ; and though the waves 
*' thereof tofs themfelves, yet can they not prevail; though 
" they roar, yet can they not pafs over it." 

The very fame thing he doth to encourage the trull of 
his own people, Ifa. xliv. 6. '' Thus faith the Lord, the 
*' King of Ifrael, and his Redeemer, the Lord of holis, 1 
*' am the firll, and I am the lafi, and belides me there is 



humbling to the SouL 147 

«' no God." When he would make us fenfible, that, If we 
continue in fin, it is impoffible for us to efcape punilh- 
ment, what a terrible reprefentation does he give of his 
dreadful and irrefiftible vengeance ? Prophecies of Nah. 
i. 5, 6. " The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, 
,*' and the earth is burnt at his prefence, yea, the world, 
" and all that dw«ll therein. Who can fland before his 
** indi'^nation ? and who can abide in the fiercenefs of his 
*' an^rer ? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks 
" are thrown down by him." 

Thus we fee, that God, in fcripture, reveals the glory 
of his own nature, as the effedual means of retraining us 
in the commiffion of fin, or turning us from it; and plain- 
ly fuppofes, that nothing but ignorance of him can en- 
courage finners in their rebellion. Neither can it be de- 
nied, that when there is an inward and powerful difcovery 
of thefe truths to the mind, it muft lead us to repentance, 
and lay us proftrate before his throne, in obedience and 
fubmifilon. Who, that knoweth the Almighty, will run 
upon the thick bofles of his buckler .? or will not rather 
ufe this dutiful language of Job, chap, ix, 2, 3, 4, 5^^^- 
" I know it is fo of a truth ; but how fhould man be juft 
"with God? Ifhe will contend with him, he cannot an- 
" fwer him one of a thoufand. He is wife in heart, and 
*' mighty in firength : who hath hardened himfelf againft 
" him, and hath profpered ? which removeth the moun- 
" tains, and they know not ; which overturneth them in 
" his anger ; which fliaketh the earth out of her place, 
" and the pillars thereof tremble." 

4. In the lad place, a view of the divine glory tends 
to leads us to repentance, as it fets forth his infinite mer- 
cy, and affords encouragement to, as well as pomts out 
the profit of repentance. Juft and proper conceptions ot 
God cannot be given us, without including his great mer- 
cy. This bright perfedion flione, even on Mount Smai, 
through all the terrors of that legal difpenfation, Exod. 
xxxiit. 18, 19. " And he faid, I befeech thee, Ihew me 
" thy olory. And he faid, 1 will make all my goodnefs fo 
" pafs before thee ; and i will proclaim the name of the 
»^ Lord before thee ; and I will be gracious to whom 1 



148. A Ficw of the Glory of Go^ 

*' will be gracious, and will fliew mercy on whom 1 will 
" {lie w mercy." Exod. xxxiv. 5, 6, 7. "And the Lord 
" (lefcended in the cloud, and Rood with him there, and 
" proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord palT- 
" ed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord 
" God, merciful and gracious, long-fuffering, and abun- 
" dant in goodnel's and truth, keeping mercy for tiiou- 
" lands, forgiving iniquity, and tranfgreiTion, and fin." 
Without the knowledge of this amiable attribute, all the 
other perfe(Slions of God would fignify little to bring us to 
true repentance. Without this, they carry nothing in 
them but unmixed terror to the guilty. Without this, 
therefore, the conHderation of his infinite holinefs and pu- 
rity, his inflexible juflice, and almighty power, would 
only ferve to drive us further from him, by throwing us 
into abfolute defpalr. But when, to all the other perfec- 
tions of God, we join his infinite mercy, the true know- 
ledge of him ferves not only to defiroy criminal prefump- 
tion, but to animate to dutiful fubmidion. Thus the 
Pfalmiil exprelFes himfelf, Pfalm cxxx. 3, 4, "If thou 
" Lord, flioulded mark iniquities, O Lord, who fliall 
" fiand ? But there is forgivenefs with thee, that thou 
" mayefl: be feared." Here you may obferve, that, when 
he fays, " there is forgivenefs with thee, that thou mayefi: 
*' be feared," he not only means, that there is encourage- 
ment to ferve God, but that his mercy iifeif leads to that 
filial reverence which is fo efiential a part of true peni- 
tence. The greatnefs and mercy of God hapjiil}^ con- 
fpire in melting the heart of the finner. There is an ex- 
preflion of fingular beauty, Hof. iii. 5. " Afterward Ihall 
" the children of Ifrael return, and feck the Lord, their 
" God, and David, their King; and ihall tear tlie Lord, 
" and ills goodnefs, in the latter days." 

This leads me to obferve, that it is in the gofpel of our 
Lord and Saviour, Jefus Chrifr, that we have the bright- 
ell and cicarcfl difplay of divine m.ercy. It is in Chrifl, 
that we have the true and faving difcovery of the glory and 
perfcttions of God, And it is particularly in him, that 
ive have an uilited illudration, and joint difplay of great- 
pefs and gocxlnefs, of maje'ly and me;cy. In the under- 



humhUng to the Soul. 149 

taking of our blelTed Redeemer, we have a very clear and 
aftefting view of diofe perfedlions, that ihew the evil of 
fin, and tlie danger of the finner. Never did the holinefs 
of God fliine brighter, or his hatred and indignation a- 
gainil fm, appear with greater terror, than when the fword 
of his jaflice was drawn oat againll tbs man iv.bo is his 
fellow. When God fwept away a polluted world by an 
univerfal deluge ; when he overthrew Sodom and Go- 
morrali by fire and brimilone from heaven ; when the 
earth opened her mouth, and fvvallowed up Korah, Da- 
than, and Abiram. Thefe were terrible proofs of his ha- 
tred of fm, of the judice and holinefs of his nature. Yet 
were they, after all, but faint evidences, in comparifon 
of what were given, when " he who was in the form of 
" God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, 
*' — was found in fafhion as a man, and became obedient 
^' unto death, even the death of the crofs." 

But, at the fime time, in this great event, hath he not 
magnified his love ? Rom. v. 8. " But God hath com- 
*' mended his love towards us, in that while we were yet 
^' finners, Chrift died for us." How fliall we think or 
fpeak on this unfathomable fubjecl ? Chrift Jefus is the 
fruit of the Father's everlafting love to finners of man. 
Jcind. How great the giver ! how unfpeakable the gift ! 
how mean and worthlefs the objefts of his love ! God is 
love. Pov/er, wifdom, holinefs, and juflice, fhine, in- 
deed, in the doftrine of the crofs. But, above all, grace 
and mercy prevail, " and reign through righteoufnefs unto 
*' eternal life." What a melting viev/ to every convin- 
ced finner ! Zech. xii. 10. " — They Ihall look upon me 
*' whom they have pierced, and they fliall mourn for 
" him, as one that mourneth for his only fon, and fliall 
*' be in bitternefs for him, as one that is in bitternefs for 
*' his firll-born." Mud they not, with Job, abhor them- 
selves^ and repent in dust and ashes ? This is a circum- 
flance frequently taken notice of with regard to the gof- 
pel converts. Jer. xxxi. 9. " They fliall come with 
" weeping ; and with fupplications will 1 lead them." 
Jtr. v. 4, 5. " In thofe days, and in that time, faith the 
*' Lord, the children of lirael Ihall corns, they, and the 



150 ^i ficiv of the Glory of God 

" children of Judah top;ether, going and weeping ; they 
•* fhall go and feek the Lord, their God. They fliall allc 
" the way to Zion, with their faces thitherward, faying, 
** Come, and let us join ourfelves to the Lord in a perpe- 
** tual covenant, that fhall not be forgotten." I fhall 
clofe this head, by addrefTing to you the words of God tp 
the children of Ifrael, Joel ii. 12, 13. " Therefore alfo 
*' now, faith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your 
*' heart, and with fafling, and Vv'ith weeping, and with 
*' mourning, and rend your heart, and not your gar- 
*' ments, and turn unto the Lord your God ; for he is 
" gracious and merciful, flow to anger, ancj of great 
** kindnefs, and repenteth him of the evil." 

I proceed, now, to mal:e fome pra<5lical improvement 
of what hath been faid. And, 

1. You may learn, from this fubje6t, the force and 
meaning of thofe pafHiges of fcripture, in which the whole 
of religion is expreifed by the knowledge of God. Thus, 
Prov. ix, 10. " The fear of the Lord is the beginning of 
*' wifdom ; and the knowledge of the holy is underfland- 
*■'■ ing." The fame thing is affirmed by our bleffed Sa- 
viour, John xvii. 3. " And this is life eternal, that they 
*' might know thee, the only true God, and Jefus Chrift, 
" whom thou haft lent." On the other hand, wicked 
men are often defcribed by this fhort and exprefTive cha- 
racler, that they know not God, as in 2 ThefT. i. 8. 
" — In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know 
*' not God." The truth is, God is either wholly unknown, 
or greatly midaken by wicked men. None but his fer- 
vants do truly fee his glory ; and the more they fee of him, 
the more they are afTimilated to him. Thus the apoflle 
Paul defcribes converfion in tlie following terms, 2 Cor. 
iv. 6. *' For God, who commanded the light to fliine out 
" of darknefs, hath finned in our hearts, to give the light 
" of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the ilice of 
" Jefus Chrift." And, in the fame epiftle, chap. iii. 18, 
he thus defcribes the progrefs of the chriltian life, " But 
♦' we all, with open face, beholding, as in a glafs, the 



humbl'mg to the Soul. 15X 

"glory of the Lord, are changed mto the fame image, 
" from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 
2. From what hath been faid on this fubjedt, you rnay 
learn the great danger of a Itate of ignorance. If repen- 
tance, which is the beginning of true religion, takes its 
rife from a knowledge of the nature and perfeftions of 
God, does it not follow, that thofe who are grofsly igno- 
rant, are not only in a contemptible, but in a deplorable 
Hate ? that they mud be Grangers to the power and prac- 
tice of religion, and, dying in that condition, mufi pe- 
rifli eternally ? It is much to be lamented, that even 
amongft us, who have the means of infiru£lion in fo 
great plenty, there are iVill many v/ho continue grofsly 
ignorant. How inexcufable ai'e thofe parents, v/ho do not 
make confcience of diligendy training up their children 
in the knowledge of the things that belong to their eternal 
peace ? I muit alfo intreat all heads of families, whom 
God hath enabled to hire the labor of others, ferioufly to 
think of the obligation that lies upon them, to inilrua: 
their fervants in die principles d religion, and not fuffer 
any under their roof to perifli for lack of knowledge. Do 
Dot think you have done enough, when you have given 
them food and wages, if you wholly neglect their precious 
fouls. I do not expe£t to prevail upon you, faithfully to 
difcharge this duty, by any arguments but thofe drawn 
from the glory of God, and your own everlalling intereft; 
but I cannot help, at the fame time, putting you in mind, 
that it is very much for your temporal intereft. Depend 
upon it, the more confcicntioufly you difcharge your duty 
to them, the more honedly, diligently, and chearfuUy 
will they ferve you. It is very common to hear complaints 
of the llothfulnefs, unfaithful nefs, and infolence of fer- 
vants; but, if we confider, ferioully, what belongs to the 
duty of a mailer, there will be found, perhaps, as n:iany, 
and' as great faults, on this fide as on the other. It is lur- 
prifing, that fome feem to expeO:, in a poor uneducated 
creature, all manner of decency of behavior, fweetnefs of 
temper, integrity, and diligence, and are ready to Horm 
upon the leait defeft, while, at the fame time, they Ihow 
no example in their ov/n condua;, but of a vifible negka: 



152 A Fiezu of th:: Glory of God 

of duty both to God and man. Oh I my tK-ethren, have 
pity on the ignorant, efpecially the younger fort, who 
would learn, if they had teachers. Ignorance is always a 
Idcure, infenfible ftate. They know nothing, and there- 
fore they fear nothing. Public inftrudion is, in a great 
mealure, ufelefs to thofe who are not prepared for it by 
more familiar teachin'T at home. Let miniliers fneak ne- 
ver lo plainly from the pulpit, it is *X\\\ to many of them a 
iirange language, which they do not comprehend. 

3. From what hath been faid on this fubje^t, you may 
fee the neceihty of regeneration, or an inward change of 
heart, in order to real religion. You have heard above, 
that it is not a fpeculative knov;ledge of the nature and 
perfcdVionc of Gcd, cr iinderftanding what he is, that 
leads to repentance, but a viev/ of his excellence and anii- 
ablenefs, as glorious in his holinefs. This none can have, 
but thofe who are in foms meafure transformed into the 
fame image. Hence it is, that wicked men do not cherifli, 
but avoid the thoughts of God. Hence it is, that extra- 
ordinary tokens of the divine power and prefence, fignal 
judgments, and unexpected ftrokes on themfelves, or 
their relations, diftrefs and terrify them, and bring them 
under a flavifh bondage for a little, but produce no love; 
no defire of union ; no cordial fubmiflion. Hence alfo 
appears the foolifhnefs of that finful, but general propenfi- 
ty^n men, to afl<: after a fign, and to defire that other and 
different evidence Ihould be given them of the truth of 
religion than God hath feen meet. We have an example 
of this in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, record- 
ed, Luke xvi. towards the dole. There the rich man is 
reprefented, as intreating, that Lazarus might be fent to 
his brethren for their warning. When Abraham refers 
them to the revealed will of God, Mofesand the prophets, 
he urges his requell thus, ver. 30, " And he faid, nay, 
*' father Abraham ; but if one went unto them froni the 
*' dead, they will repent;" to which the anTwer is given 
immediately, " If they hear not Mofes and the prophets, 
" neither will they be perfuaded, though one rcfe fron^ 
" the dead." 



bumbling to the Sot J. 153 

There nave been others at dilTerent times, who have 
defired fuch extraordinar)/ proofs ; but they would of 
themfelves, be attended with no real benefit. Though 
you had beeji on Mount Sinai with Mofes, it would have 
produced terror, but no other effect, without a fpiritual 
difcovery of the real glory of God. See Exod. xix. 16. 
" And it came to pafs, on the third day, in the morning, 
*' that there were thunders, and lightnings, and a thick 
" cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet 
*' exceeding loud ; fo that all the people that was in the 
" camp trembled." And the fame book, ch. xx. 18, 19. 
" And all the people faw the thunderings, and the light- 
" nings, and the noifeof the trumpet, and the mouniain 
" fmoking ; and when the people faw it, they removed, 
" and flood afar off: and they faid unto Mofes, fpeak thou 
" with us, and we will hear; but let not God fpeak with 
'•' us, left we die." Another evidence of the fame thinsr, 
may be taken from the cafe of devils and damned fpirits. 
They have, no doubt, a fenfible demonftration of the be- 
ing, and, probably, a very clear intelle£lual knowledge of 
the nature of God ; yet hath it not any effedl; in changing 
their difpofjtions : on the contrary, the more they know^ 
of him, who is h oppofjte to their temper, they hate him 
the more ; it inflames their natural enmity, and makes it 
rage with double violence. This, I think, appears very 
plainly, both from the reafon of the thing, and from the 
following parages of fcripture, Matth. viii. 29, it is faid of 
two demoniacs: "And behold they cried out, faving, what 
" have v/e to do with thee, Jefus, thou Son of God ? art 
*' thou come hither to torment us before the time f " Mark 
y. 6, 7. " But when he faw Jefus afar ofl', he ran and 
*' worfliipped him, and cried with a loud voice, and faid, 
** what have I to do with thee, Jefus, thou Son of the 
" Mod High God ? I adjure thee by God, that thou tor- 
'' ment me not." And again, Mark ix. 20. "And they 
" brought him unto him ; and when he faw him, firaight- 
" way the fpirit tare him, and he fell on the ground, and 
" wallowed, foaming." From which paffages, we may 
perceive, agreeable to what has been obferved, that the 
prefence of Chriil; increafal, at once, the r:>ge and mife- 

VOL. II. U 



154 -^ Pte^M of the Glory of God 

ry of the unclean fjDirits. Let this excite us to pray, that 
it would pleafe God to reveal himfelf to us by his Spirit, 
and give us the faving knowledge of him, as he is " in 
" Chrid Jefus, reconciling the world to himfelf." 

4. Suffer me, on this occafion, fliortly to addrefs myfelf 
to thofe, who are ftrangers to true religion. Let me be- 
feech them, while they are yet in the way, and whilll the 
Spirit of God is driving with them, in his word and ordi- 
nances, to lay down the weapons of their rebellion againfl 
him, and to lay hold, by faith, on the atoning blood of 
Chrift for their reconciliation and peace. Are there not 
fome in this affembly, who have yet no knowledge of God, 
but that which makes his fervice a burden, his Sabbaths a 
wearinefs, and his people contemptible or odious ? Are 
there not fome tender fpirits, who are paflionate lovers of 
this prefent world, but unable to bear the view of morta- 
lity and mifery in their fellow-creatures ; who tremble at 
the gloom of a church-yard, or burying vault, and turn 
pale as aflies at the fight of a death's head, or an open 
grave? 1 befeech you, my beloved hearers, to join, with 
the terror of divine power, the riches of divine grace ; 
and let both conllrain you to " acquaint yourfelves with 
*' God, and be at peace, that thereby good may come un- 
*' to you." 1 know no way, by which you may avoid 
meeting with the king of terrors; but you may fet him at 
delidnce under the prote6lion of the King of kings. There 
is no profit in forgetting, but there is both honor and pro- 
fit in conquering death. Some are unhappily fuccefsful, 
for a fealbn, in banifliing every difmal idea from their 
minds. The hll'c and flattering pleafures of life engrofs 
their attention, and intoxicate their minds. But in a little 
time, Bchokl the fupreme Judge *' cometh with clouds, 
" and every eye fliall fee him, and they alfo which pierced 
" him; and all kindreds of the earth fhall wail becaufe of 
" him." He is now belceching you with tendernefs, and 
waiting on you with patience. Embrace, therelbre, the 
happy fcafon. " Kifs the Son, le(l he be angry, and ye 
*' perilh Irom the way, when his wrath is kindled but a 
*' iiltle ; bleffcd are all they that put ti.eir trull in him." 



hiimhling to the Soul. 155- 

5. In the laft place, you may fee the reafon why every 
truly good man, the more he groweth in religion, the 
more he groweth in humility. Growth in religion im- 
plies, or carries in it, a growing difcovery of the glory of 
God, as it fliines in his works, his word, his ordinances, 
his providence. This neceflarily leads to felf-abafement. 
O how contrary to religion is pride! But, above all others, 
how abfurd, criminal, intolerable, is fpiritual pride? what 
a proof of felf-ignorance, as well as forgetfulnefs of God ! 
The fir il views of a penitent are fixed on the enormities 
of his life ; but when thefe are, in fome meafure, fubdu- 
ed, additional difcoverics of the glory of God bring forth 
the latent corruptions of his heart. What afFedting com- 
plaints does that eminent, zealous, faithful minifler of 
ChriH:, the apoRle Paul, make in the following well known 
palTage, Rom. vii. 18. "• For I knovv that in me (that is, 
" in my flefh) dvvelleth no good thing : for to will is pre- 
*' fent with me ; but how to perform that which is good, I 
'' find not." And verfe 23, 24. " But I fee another law 
" in my members, warring againft the law of my mind, 
" and bringing me into captivity to the law of fin, which 
'^' is in my members. O wretched man that I am ! who 
*' fliall deliver me from the body of this death?" Nay» 
the cleared: views which a believer can take of the riches 
of divine mercy through a Redeemer, though they afford 
unfpeakable confolation in God, tend alfo deeply to hum- 
ble him, under a fenfe of his own unworthinefs. The 
doctrine of the crofs is not more refrefliing to the broken in 
heart, than it is abafing to the proud ; for it was chofen 
of God for this very purpofe, *' that no flefh (hould glory 
" in his prefence." 

On the whole, my brethren, as you cannot live under 
the direi5tion of a better habitual principle, fo you cannot 
prepare for any att of folemn worflilp more properlj^ than 
by deep humility. To improve this difpofition, let me 
intreat you to make a ferious and impartial fearch into the 
fins you have been guilty of, in heart and converfation, 
by oiniffiou or commiffion ; by neglecling your duty to 
God, or the ill performance of his worfliip, in public, in 
family, or in fecret ; by negleding your duty to your 



I^jS. a Fiew of the Glory ofGud, yc. 

neighboar, to j'ouiTelves, to your relations ; or doing that 
vvuich is wrong, b)^ indulpjing, in an}' meafure, the "• luft 
" of the fi?rn, the lufl qF the eye, or the pride of life." 
To conclude all, you will never have a more fatisfying 
evidence, that your aC^s of uoriliip, ordinary or more fo- 
lemn, .have been acceptable to God, than il they ferve to 
clothe you with humility, and make you adopt and relifh 
th.e words of Job in the text: " I have heard of thee by the 
" liearing of tlie ear; but now mine eye fcelh thee. Where- 
" fore I abhor myfelf, and repent in dull and uflics." 



C 157 ] 



MAN IN HIS NATURAL STATE. 

SERMON 23- 



Rev. 111. 17. 

Because tkoii sayest I am rich., and hicrcased xuith goods, and 
have need of nothing; and knoxvest not that thou art -utr etch- 
ed, and miserable, and poor, q.nd blind, and naked. 

TN order to preach the Gofpel with fuccefs, it is necef- 
J^ fary that we lliould begin, by ellablifiiing the great 
and fundamental truths, on which all the red are built, 
and to which they conftantly refer. Nay, it is neceffary, 
that we fliould often look back to thefe, and fee that we be 
not off the foundation, or that it be not weakly, or imper- 
fectly laid. Of this fort, I take the guilt, mifery and 
weaknefs of our nature to be; and therefore have chofen 
the words now read, as the fubject of difcourfe, in which 
the fpirit of God reproves the felf-fufficiency, and felf- 
righteoufnefs of the church of Laodicea. 

Because thou sayest lam rich, and increased witb goods, 
&'c. I fuppofe you will all eafily underftand, that the 
words are figurative, and are fpoken entirely with a view 
to the fpiritual ftate of that church. In this light, let us 
confider what is precifely their meaning. 

We may either fuppofe, that this charge is brought 
agalnfli the church of Laodicea, becaufe there were many 
there, under the profeffion of the Gofpel, whov.'ere, not- 
v; 1th {landing, ftill 1^^ a natural and unrenewed ilate — • 



15^ Man in his Natural State. 

grangers to the power of religion ; of which, the^ir being 
thus unhumbled, and infenflble of their guilt and mifery, 
was the evidence ; and for which the remedy is prefcribed 
in the following words : " I counfel thee to buy of me 
*' gold tried in the fire, that thou mayeft be rich, and white 
" raiment that thou mayell be clothed, and that the fhame 
" of thy nakednefs do not appear ; and anoint thine eyes 
*' with eye falve, that thou mayell fee." 

Or we may fuppofe, that this reproof was in a great 
meafure applicable to them all, in general ; believers and 
unbelievers ; the beft of them being exceedingly prone to 
trull in themfelves that they were righteous ; inilead of 
that humble dependance on the merit and grace of their 
Redeemer, which ought not only to be the refuge of the 
fmner, but the confidence of the faint. And there is no 
queilion, that this is a proper caution to profefling Chrif- 
tians in every age, to beware of fplitting on the rock of 
lelf fufFiciency. 

But as this difpofition reigns in the heart of every one, 
that is yet at a diflance from God — is the foundation of 
their fecurity and impenitence, and is what they mult be 
brought off from, before they can be reconciled to God ; 
it is for their benefit, that I chiefly defign this difcourfe, 
though it may alfo be ufeful, and Ihall be in part, applied 
to the children of God. It is an afFcding thought, when 
purfued to its confequences ; yet alas ! it is unquefliona- 
hly true, that in every aflTembly, fuch as this, of profefling 
Chrillians, there are not a itw^ who are in the gall of bit- 
temesSy and in the bond of iniquity^ under the wrath of 
God, and liable to the condemning fentence of his law ; 
and at the fame time, that the far greatefl part of them 
are ignorant of it, and know not, that they are lur etched, 
and poor ^ and blind ^ and naked. 

In difcourfing fardier upon this fubje£l, therefore I fliall 

I. Endeavor to prove and illuflrate this truth : that 
all mankind are by nature in a Hate of fin and miiiL-ry, 
under the bondage of corruption, and liable to the wrath 
of God. . 



Man in his Natural State, 159 

II. I fhall briefly thew you, that being brought to a 
lively fenfe, and genuine convidlion of this, is the firft, 
and a neceffary Hep, to the faving knowledge of God, in 
Chriil — And in the last place ^ Ihall make Ibme prai^ical 
improvement of the fubjedt. 

I. In the firft place then, I am to prove and illuftrate 
this truth ; that all mankind are by nature in a Hate of 
fm and mifery, under the bondage of corruption, and lia» 
ble to the wrath of God. What is faid in this paflage of 
the Laodiceans, is univerfally true, of the pollerity of 
Adam. Unlefs an inward and effential change has been 
wrought upon them by the grace of God, they are 'wretch- 
ed^ and miserable^ and poor^ and blind^ and nuked. It ii 
alfo true of them, as well as the Laodiceans, that they 
know it not; but vainly prefume themfelves to be rich, 
and increafed with goods, and to have need of nothing. 
Ifthefe two things are jointly true of many of you my 
hearers, there is nothing in which you can have fo great 
a concern : therefore, let me earneUIy befcech your moft 
ferious attention, to what fhall bi faid : as the fuccefs of 
this convidtion is neccffary, to your ui derllandin,^ or pro* 
fitting by any other part of divine truth, as 1 fliall after* 
wards (hew you. 

The proof of the truth here afferted, can be only of two 
kinds. I. From Icripture which is the teliimony of 
God declaring it. 2. From the vifiiile Hate of the world, 
and our own experience finding it to be fo. 

I. That all mankind are by nature in a flate of fin 
and mifery, appears from the exprefs, and repeated tefti- 
mony of the word of God. And this teliimony we have, 
not only in particular paflages, carrying the truth, but in 
the flrain and fpirit of the whole, and the feveral dif- 
penfations of Divine Providence there recorded, which are 
all of them, built upon this fuppofition, and intended to 
remedy'' this univerfal evil. 

See what God declares: Gen. vi. 5. «' And God faw 
*' that the wickednefs of man was great in the earth, and 
" that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, was 
" only evil continually.'* And again, " the imagination 



i6o Man in his Natural State. 

*' of man's heart is evil from his youth." We may take 
the pHilmift David's teftimony of himfclf, as a fample of 
the reft of mankind ; and indeed he plainly intimates, that 
it is a common calamity. " Who can underftand his 
" errors? Cleanfe thou me from fecret faults. Behold! 
" I was fliapen in iniquity, and in fm did my mother con- 
*' ceive me." ^ 

We may take alfo the teflimony of the apoflle Paul, in 
his epiflle to the Romans, which is the more full to our 
prefent purpofc, that as he had never been at Rome, he 
is there laying the foundation of religion in general, and 
the Chrillian difpenfation in particular, by a clear and 
explicit proof of the need the world had of a Saviour, 
from its univerfal corruption and depravity. See then 
what he fays — " What then ? Are we better than they .** 
" No, in no wife, for we have before proved both Jews and 
*' GentllcG, that they are all under fni. As it is written, 
*' there is none righteous, no not one." And again — 
*' Now we know that what things foever the law faith, it 
" faith to them who are under the law, that every mouth 
" may be flopped, and all the world may become guilty 
" before God,-~For all have fmned and come fliort of the 
*^ glory of God." 

You may alfo fee that the apoftle traces this diforder to 
its very fource — " Wherefore as by one man fin entered 
" into the world, and death by fm : and fo death pafTed 
" upon all men, for that all have finned." 

I fliall add but one exprefs fcripture teftimony more. — 
'* And you hath he quickened, who v/cre dead in trefpaffes 
*' and fins." 

But befides the particular pafiages of fcripture, pofi- 
tively declaring this truth, the whole frame and contex- 
ture of the fcriptures, and all the difpenfaiions of Divine 
Providence recorded in them, are a proof of the fame 
thing. Man is every where confidered as in a fallen and 
finful Irate. Ever)' thing that is prefcribed to him, and 
every thing that is done for him, goes upon that fuppofi- 
tion. It is not one man, or a few men, that are in fcrip- 
ture called to repentance, but all without exception. Now 
repentance is only the duty of a finner. .An innocent 



Man in his Natural Stale. i6t 

peiTon cannot repent ; he has nothing to grieve for in his 
heart, or to forfake in his life. It is alio proper to obferve, 
that one of the fcripture characters of God is, Merciful 
and gracious^ slow to anger^ forgimng iniquity^ trans- 
gression and sin. Now, he could not be to us a forgiving 
God, and there would be no need that he fliould be re- 
vealed under that character, unlefs we were finners, that 
flood in need of pardon. Mercy, indeed, is the diftin- 
guifliing attribute oi God, and this can only have refpedl 
to offenders. All the other perfections of God, might be 
exercifed towards pure and holy creatures ; but mercy, 
only towards finners. He might be a good, holy, juft, 
wife, powerful God, to perfons in a ftate of innocence, 
but he can fhew mercy only to the guilty. 

Do not the difpenfations of God's providence fliew 
the fame thing? He fent the flood, as a tefiimony of the 
wickednefs of the world, and for the punifliment of a 
guilty race. Remember alfo the facrifices, which were 
appointed, and accepted by God, from the beginning of 
the world. Sacrifices are for atonement, and expiation. 
They are plainly a fubftitution in the room of a forfeited 
life. It is doing violence to common fenfe, to make them 
any thing elfe. The whole Jewilh econom}^, which had 
in it fo many facrifices, fo many offerings, fo many wafli- 
ings and purifications, does plainly fuppofe, the perfon 
nfiag them to be infeded with fin, or moral pollution. 
Had not this been the cafe, they had been extremely ab- 
furd and improper. 

But the ilrongefi; tefdmony of all, that God hath given 
to the guilt and corruption of mankind, is his fending his 
own Son into the world, to redeem them, by the facrifice 
of himfelf — To what purpofe redeem them, if they were 
not in bondage ? Why fo coftly an expiation, if our lives 
had not been forfeited to divine juilice ? But that it was 
lor this purpofe, that Ghrilt came into the world, is {o 
plain, from the whole of the fcriptufes, that I fhall feleCl 
b-.it one paflage out of many, to prove it — " A'\"hom God 
*' hath fet forth to be a propitiation, thrcu;];h faith in his 
" blood, to declare his righteoufnefs, for the remiffion of 
*' fins that are paft, through the forbearance of God.*' 

Vol. IL " X 



i62 Man in his Natural State. 

What is faid already on this head, is a full proof from 
fcripture, that man is now, by nature, in a ilate of fin ; 
that he is alfo, in confequence of that, in a Hate of mifery, 
and liable to the wrath of God, is proved by many of the 
fame paifages, and by many others — " For the wrath of 
" God is revealed from Heaven againfl: all ungodlinefs, 
"and unrij:;hteourncfs of men, who hold the truth in un- 
" righteoufnefs — For the wages of fin is death," &.c. But 
I need not multiply paifages to this purpofe ; for in all 
God*s difpenfations, the deferved puniiliment of fmners 
is as evident as their finfulnefs itfelf. It is indeed fully 
proved, from the eifential perfeftions of God, particular- 
ly his holinefs and jullice. He is of purer eyes than that 
he can behold iniquity. Ei)!! cannot dwell with him^ 
nor fools ^ that is, fmners, stand m his sight. 

Is not all this then my brethren, a fullicient proof, from 
the tellimony of God, that man in a natural Hate, is finful 
and miferable? fhall we affirm ourfelves to be whole, if he 
faith we are unfound ? Do we know more than God ? 
Will we not give credit to the fountain of truth ? Nor is it 
any objt:6lion to this, that we ourfelves know it not, or are 
but little fenfible of it. One confiderable part of the dif- 
eafe, is blindnefs of underllanding : fo that v/e may, and 
mud, till our eyes are opened, be ignorant of our danger 
— We may think and fay, that v/e are rich, and increafed 
in goods, and have need of nothing, while we are ivrctcbcd 
a?id miserable^ and blind and naked. 

2. The ("ame thing appears from the vifible ftate of the 
world, and our own experience. Unbelievers are apt to 
hear with indifference and negledt, what they are told 
from fcripture teflimon}'', unlefs otherwife confirmed to 
them; and it is with the unbeliever we have now to do. 
Beiides, the ellablifhmcnt of this truth, upon other evi- 
dcnce than that of fcripture, ougiit to have a powerful in- 
fluence, in inducing men to believe the other truths in 
fcripture, that are connefted with and founded upon it. 
I think it therefore, highly proper, to lay before you what 
evidence we have of our loll: ftate, from the obfervrttion of 
the world, though the fcriptures had been filtnt. I would 
likewife recommend to all, v.hat fhall be faid on this fub- 



Ma?i In his Natural State, 163 

je£\:, to preferve your faith unfhaken, and keep you from 
blafphemous, unbelieving thoughts, if at any time you 
flioukl be tempted to them : fmce even unenlightened 
reafon confirms the foundation of divine truth, and na- 
ture, and providence confpire in preaching the do6trine 
of divine grace. 

Now, doth not our experience, as well as the obferva- 
tion of others, fliew us, that we are born in fin, and con- 
ceived in iniquity ? May we not fay from our own know- 
ledge, that the imaginations of the heart of man, are only 
evil from his youth, and that continually ? Is there not a 
pronenefs, and tendency to evil, univerfally to be obferved 
in mankind ? and a backwardnefs and averfion to that 
which is good? Is not this apparent even in children, 
upon the firfi: dawn of reafon in their minds, and the firft 
fight of choice or inclination in their hearts? Surely it muft 
be owned, that in that early period, they are at leafl co7/j- 
parathely \viXiQztviX — If any among us, is without fin, it 
mufi be the youngeft; yet folly is bound in the heart of a 
child. How hard is it to guard them from evil, and to in- 
fpire them with good difpofitions, even by the wifefl; and 
earlied: care, in their inRruflion? and even after the moil 
fuccefsful pains, are there not fi:ill many remaining ble- 
mifhes, through the prevalence of corrupt nature, which 
iliew, that the ground-work itfelf, was faulty ? But on the 
contrary, how eafily do men learn that which is evil ? 
Do they need to be taught? Is it not enough to give them 
licence? How jufi is that defcription in Jeremiah ? l^hev 
are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I 
am far from denying, that men are improved and forward- 
ed in fin, by inflruftion and example, as well as in that 
which is good: but it is plain, they are far apter fcholars, 
in the firft, than in the laft; which plainl)^ fliews they are 
more powerfully difpofed to it by nature. Nay, is it not 
evident, from the univerfal experience and tefiimony of 
thoie, who a6l from a principle of Religion; that it is ex- 
tremely difficult, with all the care they can take, to refift 
the propenfity of nature to the contrary ? And that in the 
beft, it often gets the fuperiority, vi'hen they are off their 
guard ? Is not this an evidence of the depravity and cor» 



164 Man in his Natural State. 

ruption of human nature, and its tendency to evil ? Are 
thofe who hate fm, often overcome by it, and fliall thole 
who love it, prefume to fay, they are free from it? 

if any fliould afk, how I prove that that courfe of adlion 
to which human nature is inclined is evil, M'^ithout the af- 
liftance of fcripture ? I anfwer, from reafon ; and that 
piany ways — from its pernicious efl'tds on focieties, and 
private perfons; from the teflimony of the world in ge- 
neral, when others than themfelve s are concerned, and 
from the teflimony of every man's confcience in his own 
cafe. Who is there, that does not often feel in himfelf, a 
powerful tendency to what he cannot but in his heart con- 
demn? I3 not his confcience God's vicegerent ? and doth 
not natural religion, as well as the religion of Chrifl, de- 
clare him corrupt? So that I may fay with the Apoflls 
Paul, not citing the palfage as a proof, but as an illuftrati- 
on and defcription of the charadter, and flate of natural 
men. " For when the Gentiles which have not the law, do 
" by nature the things contained in the law; thefe having 
" not the law, are a law unto themfelves, which fliew the 
*' work of the law written in their hearts, their conlciencs 
'' alfo bearing witnefs, and their thoughts, the mean while, 
" accufing or elfe excufing one another." 

Thus there is as rnuch light remaining with us fmce 
the fall, as to fhew, that we are out of the wa}-, but not to 
bring us back to it again. 

As a ferious confid.enttion of the Rate of the wicked may 
fliew us our natural impurity, {o it hath been long ago dif- 
covered, and confefled by many of the ancient heathens, 
v.'ho never heard of the name of Chrill, nor knew of the 
remedy. Thefe, difcerning by nature, the perfedlly pure 
and holy nature of God, and comparing it with the dilpofi- 
tions prevalent in man, could rot reconcile them together; 
but concluded, that a creature fo corrupt, could not come 
in that condition out pf the hands of its Creator. This 
difficulty fome of them endeavored to folve by a (late of 
pre-exidence ; v/hich bears fome refemblance to the true 
iblution, given of it in the holy fcripture: viz. the apollacy 
pf our firfl parents; v.'hich entailed a corrupted nature 
upon their polk-rity, in which the light of nature and re- 
vealed truth, feeni almofl wholly to coincide. 



Man in bis Natural State. 165 

It Is to the fame thing that I cannot help attributing the 
f)ra(5lice, that fo univerfally prevailed over the heathen 
world, before the coming of Chrift, of offering sacrifices^ 
to appeafe the wrath of the deity, fuppofed to be offended. 
That the cuflom of facrificing prevailed very generally, 
perhaps univerfally among the heathen nations, at the 
greateft diftance from, and having no correfpondence 
with each other, is a certain and unquelHonable fafl. Nei- 
ther do I fee to what caufe we can afcribe it, unlefs to one 
ofthefetwo; either an ancient tradition, from the begin- 
ning of the world, and fpread with the inhabitants through 
the feveral parts of it, as they feparated and peopled it ; 
or to the common condition of human nature, which dic- 
tated the fame thing to perfons in fuch diftant places. 

If the firft of thefe fuppofitions is embraced, which In- 
.deed I fuppofe to be the truth, it appears that facrifices 
were appointed by God to man in his fallen ilate, for the 
pardon of fin, and that they had reference to the great pro- 
pitiatory facrifice of Ghrifl upon the crofs. 

If we prefer the laft fuppofition, it would feem as if the 
confcioafnefs of guilt had uniformly prompted men in all 
ages and nations, to offer up fome atonement for their of- 
fences. In both cafes, it equally ferves to prove the cor- 
ruption and finfulnefs of human nature. 

Now, as what hath been faid, plainly proves the impu- 
rity of man in his natural ftate, fo his mifery and liable- 
nefs to punifhment may alfo be proved; both as a natu- 
ral confequence of his finfulnefs, and even more plainl}^ 
by itfelf. There is not only a confiderable degree of a£lu- 
al mifery in the world, but plain prefages of more to fol- 
low it in the world to come. Need I take up much time, 
hi enumerating the feveral miferies and calamities inci- 
dent to human life ? Are not opprefTion and injury from 
one another, poverty, ficknefs, pain and death, the plain 
fruits of fin, and vifible tokens of God's difpleafure ? Man 
with fome marks of fuperiority and excellence of nature, 
is even, by means of his fuperiority, his knowledge, and 
fore fight of his own fufFerings, more miferable, than any 
other of the creatures, that is equally fubjca: to the flroke 
fif death. 



1 66 Man in bis Natural State. 

To the whole, I fhall only fubjoin one confideratlon 
piore, which is applicable to both parts of the argument — 
I have often thought, that the natural terror and fear , 
withiuhicb men are posse st of the presence ofGod^ or any 
remarkable token of bis poiver, is nothing else but an in- 
dication of guilty or an apprehension ofivrath. 

You may fee fome incidents in fcripture, from which 
it is natural to conclude, that when God makes any vifi- 
ble manifeftation of his glory, or fends any of his angels 
or miniflers from heaven to earth ; thofe who are prefent, 
are filled v/ith the utmofl dread and terror. 

Thus in the relation given of God's appearance upon 
Mount Sinai, it is faid ; "And {o terrible was the fight, 
" that?vIofes faid, I exceedingly fear and quake." See 
another example, in Ifaiah — '' Then faid I, woe is me, 
** for I am undone, becaufe I am a man of unclean lips ; 
*' for mine eyes have ktn the King, the Lord of Hofis." 
And in the New Tefiament, in the apoRIe John — "And 
*' when I faw him, I fell at his feet as dead." 

And is not this always the cafe, in all ages, that upon 
any remarkable appearance of an inhabitant of tiie other 
world, or even when any fuch thing is falfely apprehend- 
ed, the inhabitants of this world are filled with extraordi- 
nary terror ? MHiat is this do you imagine, but confci- 
oufnefs of guilt, and apprehenfion of vengeance .■* 

Innocence has no enemy, and it has nothing to fear. 
We are all in much the fame cafe with Adam, immedi- 
ately after his firfi tranfgreffion ; when he heard God's 
voice in the garden, be luas afraid, and fied^ and bid 
himself— Wt read of no fuch fear poirefiTmg him, while he 
retained his innocence, but as foon as he had fmned, he 
began to dread an avenging God. 

From all this then, I would conclude, that reafon ac- 
cords with fcripture, in fajdng, that all batse sinfied and 
come short of the glory of God : that man in a natural 
ilate, is ivretcbed and miserable^ and poor^ and blind^ 
and naked. 



[ i67 ] 



AN INDUCEMENT TO COME TO CHRIST. 

SERMON 24. 



Rev. ill. 17. 



'Because thou say est lam rich, and increased zvlth goods ^ ajid 
have need of nothing ; o)id knowest not that thou art wretch- 
ed, and viUHer able ^ and poor ^ and blind, and naked. 



JFAVING in a former difcourfe, proved, and illuf- 

~\ trated this truth ; that all mankind are by nature 
in a itate oi iin and mifery, under the bondage of corrup- 
tion, and liable to the wrath of God : — I proceed now to 
the second thing propofed, which was to fliew you, that 
being brought to a lively fenle and genuine convi6\ion of 
this, is the firll, and a neceflary ftep to the faving know- 
ledge of God in Chrill. 

On this, I fhall not need to fpend much time, as it is 
fo exceedingly plain, both in itielf, and from what hath 
been already faid — It is however neceflary to fet it clearly 
before you, in order to lay a foundation for the improve- 
ment of the fubjeft. 

If the doctrine of Chrifi:, and of him crucified, proceeds 
upon the fuppofition of our finful and miferable condition 
by nature ; then furely, it can neither be valued, embra- 
ced, nor improved ; and indeed, I think hardly undcr- 
ilood, by thofe who know not this their natural flate. 



168 Jin InduccnUnt lO coMe to Christ. 

What Chrid hath done, and promifes to do in our behalf, 
is defigned as a remedy for our dillrened condition ; Jind 
Therefore, till the didrefs is known, the remedy will be 
fet at nought. If a phyfician fhould offer his care and flcill 
for the recovery of a man, who efleemed himfelf in perfect 
health, would lie not deride the propofal, fo long as- he 
continued in that opinion ? If any man fliould offer a 
charitable fupply of clothes and food^ to one who iinagi- 
ned himfelf immenfely rich, and gloried in his riches ; 
would he not look upon it as the groffeft infult ? 

Jull fo is the gofpel treated, by all fuch as fee not their 
mifery. What is the fubftance of the gofpel ? ' To yoit 

* O men, I call, and my voice is to the fons of men, 
' Behold 1 I preach to you Chrid crucified, a Saviour 

* fuited to your neceffities, able to fave to the uttermoft 

* all that come to God through him. He is well fitted to 

* be a mediator, between you and your offended Maker. 

* He hath offered himfelf up, a facrifice to the judice of 

* God for your fins, by the merit of which, you may be 

* faved from deferved and impending ruin. He offers 

* himfelf as a guide, to dired your feet in the way of peace 

* — to dand by you in the difficulties and dangers to 

* which you are expofed, and to give you by his com- 

* municated drength, a complete victory over all your 

* enemies.' 

V/hat reply doth the unconvinced dnner make to all 
this."* A^^hy he faith, ' I know nothing of this mifery you 
*■ fuppofe, wherefore then a Saviour ? I fee no fin, what 

* neceffity then, for an atonement? I fear no wrath, 

* therefore will feek for no Intercefibr. My eyes are open, 

* therefore I will have no guide. I know of no enemies, 

* and therefore, will not enter into contention with a flia- 

* dow, or flee when no man purfueth.' 

Thefe, my brethren, are either directly, or implicitly, 
the thoughts of men, in a fecure and unconvinced date ; 
and while they are fo, they can fee no form nor comelinefs 
in the Saviour, nor any beauty, that they fhould defire 
him. 

It is otherwife with the broken in fpirit. He fees his 
own vilenefs and unwonhinefs, and therefore cannot 



jlfi inducement to come to Christ. 169 

lift his eyes to God, but through the atonuig blood of 
Chrifl. He fears the avenger of blood, and therefore flees 
to the city of refuge — The meffage of the gofpel is to 
him indeed ghul tidings of great joy, aud lie counts it a 
faithful faying and ivorthy of all acceptation. 

The juftice of this reprefentalion you may fee, from 
what our Saviour himfelf fays of the end of his coming. 
" They that be whole need not a phyfician, but they that 
" are fick : But go ye and learn what that meanelh, J will 
" have mercy and not facrifice ; for I am not come to call 
•' the righteous, but finners to repentance." 

See ahb the terms of his invitation. " Come unto me 
" all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give 
" you reft." 

Appetite, and knowledge of neceffity, is firfl required, 
or fuppofed, to the beflowing of Gofpel bleffings — " Ho I 
*' every one that thirfteth, come ye to the waters." 

I flull only add, that we find by the inflances recorded 
in fcripture, of fuch as were converted by the preaching 
of the gofpel ; that their converfion took its rife from 
convi£lion of fm — " Nov/ when they heard this, they were 
" pricked in their hearts, and faid unto Peter, and to the 
•' rell of the apoflles, men and brethren, what fhall we 
*' do ?" See alfo the inltance of the jailer — " Then he 
*' called for a light, and fprang in, and came trembling, 
" and fell down before Paul and Silas : And brought them 
*' out, and faid firs, what rnuft I do to be faved :" 

Repentance unto life, and the return of the finner to 
God, proceeds from the fame caufe, in every age. Who 
are the perfons who believingly apply to Chrill for the 
pardon of their fins, but thofe who fee they are undone 
v/ithout him ? Who are the perfons in v>/hofe eyes he is 
moll precious, and who maintain the mofl; habitual dc- 
pendance upon him ? Are they not thofe who have been 
mod effetlually humbled, and fee their own infufliciency 
for any thing that is good ? 

From all this I conclude, that none can come to Chrift 
by faith, but thofe who fee themfelves to be iv retched, 
and miser able J and blindj and naked. 

Vol. II. Y 



lyo An Inducement to come to Christ. 

Let us now make fome improvement, of what hath 
been faid upon this lubjeft, for 5^t)ur inftrudion and di- 
re6lion. 

I. I would improve what has been faid on this fubjeft, 
for difcovering tlie danger of many among us, who have 
never yet been brought to a jufl: fenfe of their charafter 
and Hate. Even the general belief, that fuch often have 
in the fcriptures, may fliew them what they have to fear. 
I might no doubt firll: of all obferve, how very guilty and 
miferable thofe are, who are mod notorious for fms, of the 
groffell and moll fhameful kind. But my fubje6t leads 
me more direiftly to confider, who are in general, imre- 
neixied^ than to mark the feveral degrees of guilt in parti- 
cular finners. From the text therefore, and the illuftra- 
tion of it, I am authorized to declare to you, and/Z'^- 
seech you to hear it with application ; that all fuch as were 
never brought to a real difcovery, and inward fenfe of 
their miferable condition by nature, are flill in a fiate of 
wrath, and ilrangers to the power of religion, whatever 
may be their profellion, and whatever may be their pre- 
fent peace. Oh ! how eafy is it, to lay afleep a natural 
confcience, and to keep a deceitful corrupt heart in a 
ilate of eafe and fecurity ? Some form.ality in outward du- 
ty, fome moderation in fm, fo to fpeak, the natural de- 
cay and weaknefs of human paffions, or youthful lulls, 
in a character formed by human prudence, and regula- 
ted by health, credit or gain, is often made to fupply the 
place of a heart renewed by the fpirit and grace of God. 
But confider, I befeech you, that though fome may be 
ten-fold more the children of the devil than others, yet 
all by nature, are the fervants of fin ; and " except a man 
" be born again, he cannot fee the kingdom of God." — 
It is not only fuch as are profane, or unclean ; fuch as 
riot in brutilh fenfuality ; fuch as are the plagues of hu- 
man fociety ; who live in brawls and contention ; but all, 
in whom an eiTtntial change has never been wrought, 
that are thus concluded under condemnation. 

It is ufual for men to take encouragement, from feeing 
others worfe than themfclves ; and to confider all the 
threatenings in fcripture, as levelled sgainft the chief and 



An Inducement to come to Christ. 171 

capital offenders ; but my text is chiefly dlreaed to fuch 
as fay they are " rich, and increafed with goods." Can 
you ' fay then, my brethren, that you have been brought 
under genuine convidions of fm ? Have you been obli- 
ged to fall down proitrate before God, when fitting upon 
die throne of his holinefs ? Have you found the fentence 
of death in yourfelves, and difcovered no remedy but in 
Chrift ? If this has never been your cafe, you have reafon 
to fear, that you are yet " in the gall of bitternefs, and in 
" the bond of iniquity." 

But I mud tell you alfo, that this is matter of feeling 
more than of profeffion. It is not enough to fpeak ho- 
norably of Chrilt, or of his works. Many do fo, who ne- 
ver felt their neceility, or ferioufly and in good earnefl 
applied to him. It were a happy thing, if all among our 
hearers, who call for evangelical preaching, who quarrel 
with us when they think we do not preach the Saviour's 
crofs — the loft ftate of man, and the do61rine of free grace, 
were experimentally acquainted with thefe truths. Many 
fuch have only been accuftomed to hear the Redeemer 
fpoken of with reverence. They may be able to imitate 
the language of fome of his fervants, though they know 
very little of that brokennefs offpirit, which accompanies 
true repentance. 

But left this fhoukl be in any meafure miftaken, I muft 
make thefe two obfervations~,the first is, that a lively 
fenfe and deep convi6\ion of fin, is, properly fpeaking, 
but a negative mark of true religion ; giving us to knov/, 
that the unhumbled are yet impenitent. For it is certain^ 
that many have been under very ftrong conviftions, nay, 
have been driven to the very borders of defpair v;ith ter- 
ror, who yet never were effeftually changed, but ftifled 
their convi^ions, and returned to their former fecurity of 
heart, and carelcfsnefs of life. 

Secondly, there may be fome on the other hand, who 
are truly born of God, in v;hom the terrors-of convicllon 
have not been very remarkable. This happens moft fre- 
quently in the cafe of thofe, who are called in their infan, 
cy, or earlier years, and who have had the advantage of a 
careful, and pious education. It would be deftruftive of 



172 ^n Inducement to come to Christ. 

the comforts of God's children to lay down one method^ in 
which he always proceeds. He is free and fovereign, in 
the manner of his dealing with fmners ; and foftens fome 
hearts by kindnefs, as well as others by correftion. So 
that if the end be brought about, we need be lefs folicitous 
about the fteps of his procedure. Yet I think humility of 
fpirit is infeparable from real religion ; and if it be lefs 
vifible in the anguifli of repentance, it will be fiill mani- 
fell in the temper of the penitent. 

II. Let me now, for the improvement of this fubj'jdl:, 
lay down a few of the belt and moll; folid evidences of ge- 
nuine conviction of fin. And, 

1. It is a good fign that ronviolion is genuine, when 
there is a clear and deep apprehenfion of the ceil of fin, 
as well as the da?iger of it. When the mind dwells not 
only on the atrocity of particular crimes, buf on the ag- 
gravation of all fni, as fuch : When the fmner is truly 
offended with himfelf, for departing from his Maker's fer- 
vice; breaking his holy laws ; forgetting or defpifing his 
innumerable mercies. There may be, and tlvjre is often 
an apprehenfion of fuffering when there is little fenfe of 
the evil of fm : but the convidion is then genuine, when 
it makes tiie finner not only remember v. liat he has done, 
l^ut confess ivbat he has clesewcd. 

2. It is a good evidence, when the fenfe of the evil of 
fm abides and grows, even though the fear of wrath may 
in a great m.eafure have abated. 

It is obfervable, that convidl.ion of fm vifually takes its 
rife from fpme grol's or heinous ads, which firft alarm the 
confcience, and in fuch a fituation the attention of the pe- 
nitent is fixed on notliing clfe but the enormities of his 
life. If this vievv continues, and produces its effefts, he 
is foon brought to fee and confefs the inherent vanity of 
his heart ; tjie v/orldlinefs of his aifc(5lionG ; and the un- 
profitablenefs of his converfution. It is a very common 
thuig for perfbns who leem to have fome fenfe of the com- 
niillion of crimes, to have little or no fenfe at all ot the 
negledl of duty, and of living (hiily to themfclves. It 
was ^ hcu.vy charge, however, brought by the pi-ophet 



An Imlu^anent to come to Christ. 173 

againfl: Bellhazzar : " And the God in whofe hand thy 
•' bfeath is, and whofe are all thy ways, haft thou not glo- 
" rifled." Wherever there is true repentance, though 
there may be the greateft peace of mind, there will be al- 
fo a deep and growing fenfe of the evil of fm, and the 
obligation of being habitually devoted to God. 

3. It is a good evidence, when there is a continued 
and growing efteem of the neceffity and value of the me- 
diation of Chrifl. It was to fave flnners that he came. 
A fenfe of fin is necefTary to our receiving him ; and in 
proportion to its ftrength will certainly be our attachment 
to him. This indeed, is the great and vital principle of 
the fpiritual life — " I am crucified with Chrift, neverthe- 
*' lefs I live, yet not I, but Chrift liveth in me : and the 
" life which I now live in the flefh, I live by the faith of 
" the Son of God ; who loved me, and gave himfelf to 
" die for me." 

4. The beft and fureft mark of real convi6lion of fin, 
is, if it leaves you poiTeffed of a deep hatred and abhor- 
rence of it, and a daily folicitudc to fly from it. Some 
may counterfeit a fenfe of the evil of fin to their own 
hearts; may have a real fear of its bitter confequences ; 
and even a prefumptuous reliance on Chrift for pardon ; 
and yet may, in fome inftances, adhere to the pradtice 
pf it. 

Floods of tears from fuch a perfon, avail nothing : but 
he hath certainly truly forrowed for fin, who in his prac- 
tice for Aikes it ; that is to fay, he is not willingly fubjefl 
to any knov/n fin — but fays with Elihu, " That which I 
^' fee not teach thou me : If 1 have done iniquity, I will 
*' do no more." 

III. Let me befeech all ferious perfons, to improve this 
fubjed for the trial of their ftate. Examine, by the prin- 
ciples above laid down, the reality, and the progrefs of re- 
ligion in your fouls. Have you a growing fenfe of the evil 
fif fin, and of your own unworthinefs? — This is at once 
an evidence, and a mean of growth in grace. He that 
thinks leaft of hirafelf is higheft in God's account; and the 
more a believer increafes in holinefs and real worth, the 



174 ^^11 Inducement to come to Christ. 

more he increafes in humility. As it is an evidence, it is 
"alfo a mean, of further improvement ; for he that hath the 
cleepcfi: fenfe of his unvvorthinefs and weaknefs, will cer- 
tainly live moll by faith on the merit and grace of his 
Redeemer. 

Therefore, ChriHians, try yourfelvesby this important 
fign. Whether do you, by religious duties, build your- 
ielves up on felf-righteoufnefs, or do you only learn by 
them, how far you fall fliort of what is incumbent on you ? 
What innumerable evils compafs you about ? and there- 
fore how much you have need of mercy inllead of reward? 
Do you look upon the works of righteoufnefs which you 
have done, as fomething, by which you merit at the hand 
of God; or do you look upon them, as the e'vidcme of his 
own work in you, and for you, and giye him the glory, 
to whom it is due ? 

IV. I fliall now conclude the whole, with a fev/ direc- 
tions for producing and preferving this profitable fenfe and 
convidion of fui. And, 

1. Let me beg of every hearer, the ferious confidera- 
tion of himfelf and his ways. Alany have no fenfe of 
their finfulnefs, becaufe they have no knowledge of them- 
felves at all ; but go through the world in uninterrupted 
thoughtleflnefs and unconcern. Is there any thing of 
greater moment than the ftateofyour minds, and your 
hope towards God? Inattention is perhaps a more uni- 
verfal caufe of impiety, than high handed and obftinate 
profanity. Would you but ferioufly confider your ways, 
and lay to heart the things that belong to your peace, I 
■would count it a hopeful circumftance ; and expett, you 
would fpeedily fee your danger, and God in his mercy 
would lead you to the cure. 

2. Give yourfelves much to reading, and hearing the 
word of God, The entrance of his word giveth light — 
It is profitable for doftrine, for reproof, and corre*5lion : 
but it is particularly neceffary for cori'uictlon ; for by the 
law is the knov/ledge of fin. What wonder, if thofe who 
never open a bible, and fcldom enter into the houfe of 
God, fliould be ignorant of their guilt and mifer}' ? The 



^n tndiicement to come to Christ. ly^ 

word of God fliews his right in 3''ou, pleads his caufe, and 
challenges your apoflafy. It is exceedingly rare that thofe 
who have fairly turned their backs u}X)n God's infiituted 
worfliip, are difturbed in their fecurity ; but are fufiered 
to fleep on till they fleep the Heep of death. But it fre- 
quently happens, that thofe who attend ordinances, even 
from no higher principle than curiofity, cuftom, or form, 
find that the word of God is a^re and hammer^ that break- 
elh the rock in pieces : " that it is quick and powerful, 
" fliarper than any two edged fword, piercinnr, even to 
*' the dividing afunder of foul and fpirit, and joints and 
*' marrow, and is a difcerner of the thoughts and intents 
*' of the heart." 

3. In the laft place. Let me befeech you, often to feat 
yourfelves in the immediate prefence of God, or rather, 
frequently to recolleft, that you can no where go from his 
fpirit, or fiy from his prefence. There is, if I may fpeak 
io, a light and glory in the prefence of God, that difcerns, 
and difclofes the works ofdarknefs. Vv^e may often ex- 
cufe, or palliate our condu;rt to men, and even hide its de- 
formity from our own view, when we could not juftify it 
to ourfelves, if v/e reflected, that " it is open and manifeft, 
'' in the. fight of God." — If therefore there is any thing in 
your pradlice, which you are inclined to palliate, and apt 
to excufe — fuppofe you were (landing at the judgment, 
feat of Chrill, where all of us (liall fliortly be; and think, 
whether your excufes will then fland the tefl of his impar- 
tial fearch. 

'' If our hearts condemn us not, God is greater than our 
" hearts, and knoweth all things." It is therefore the 
duty and interefl of every linner, to take fliame and con- 
fufion of face to himfelf, and apply to the "blood of 
" fprinkling, which fpeaketh better things, than the blood 
"of Abel." 



[ 177 ] 



TRUST IN GOD. 



SERMON 25. 



ISAIAH 1. 10. 

TFho is among yon that fcareth the Lord^ tliat oheytth the 
voice of his servant, that xvalketh in darkness^ and hath no 
light ? let him trust intlie name of the Lord, and stay upon 
his God. 

IT is faid of every real believer, that he walks by faith 
and not by fight. If this is true it will follow, that 
his faith muft be expofed to a variety of trials, while he 
continues in a world of fenfe. Thefe trials arife from 
the ftate of his own mind — from his outward condition — . 
from the ftate of the world with which he Hands conne<5l- 
ed — and from the mutual influence of all thefe, one upon 
another. From this lituation it is eafy to fee, that there 
are few duties, for the exercife of which a good man will 
liave greater or more frequent occafion than that of trull 
and reliance upon God. Trufl is the duty and the refuge 
of the needy — of the dependant — of the weak — of the 
timorous, and the dillrelfed. How many are included 
under one or more of thefe characters; or rather, who is 
it that can fay he is altogether excluded ? 

Agreeably to this, we need but open the facred volume, 
to perceive how frequent the exhortations are to truft in 
God, and how many views are given us of his power, 

Vol. II. . Z 



1 78 Trust in God, 

wifdom, mercy and faithfulnefs, to encourage us to an 
unfhaken reliance. At the fiime time, 1 am ferry to fay, 
that there are few duties which are more imperfetlly un- 
derftood by many profeffing Chriltians. Even pious per- 
fonc often fm both on the right hand and on the left, that 
is to fay, both by diffidence and prefumption. I have, 
therefore, laid hold of this opportunity, and made choice 
of this paffage of fcripture, in order to open and illufirate 
a little this important duty of a fervant of God. How 
feafonable it is you will eafily perceive, for in the facra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper we have fet before us Chrift 
Jefus the unfpeakable gift of God — the great pledge of his 
love, and the great foundation of our reliance upon him, 
not only for his laving mercy in general, but for every 
neceffary blefTmg in our way to eternal refl. 

This paflage of Icripture is alfo well fuited to the fub- 
je£t. It was fpoken to the Jews in a lax and difTolute age, 
when many had turned their backs upon the fervice of 
God — had deferted his ordinances and def))ifed his fer- 
vants, which is always an occafion both of afflidion and 
temptation to his own children. This appears from the 
iirfl words of the chapter. " For thus faith the Lord, 
*' where is the bill of your mother's dlvorceuient, whom I 
" have put away ? And which of my creditors is it to 
" whom I have fold you ? Behold, for your iniquities 
*' you have fold yourfelves, and for your tranfgreflions is 
" your mother put away.'' As alfo from the 3d and 4th 
verfes. " I clothe the heavens with blacknefs, and I make 
*' fackclcth their covering. The Lord Gcd hath given 
*' me the tongue of the learned, that I fliould know how 
** to fpeak a word in feafon to him that is weary." 

In difcourling further on this fubjccl, it is propofed, 
through the alLllance of divine grace, 

I. To open a little the chara£ler and Rate of thofe who 
are called upon and exhorted to truft in tlie name of the 
Lord. 

II. To explain the duty of truil, and point out the 
foundation of it. 



Trust in God. lyo 

III. To apply the fubje£t for your inflruflion and com- 
fort. 

In the Firft place then, I am to open a little the cha- 
rafter and flate of thofe who are here called upon and ex- 
horted to trufl in the name of the Lord. 

Their defcription is as follows ; " Who is among you 
" that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his fer- 
" vant, that walketh in darknefs, and hath no light ? let 
" him trud in the name of the Lord, and Hay himfelf 
*' upon his God." It will help us to enter into the fpirit 
and meaning of the prophet's words, if we keep in view 
the flate of the Jewilh church, hinted at a little while ago. 
*' Who is among you;" that is, if there is one or more — 
if there is a fmall feie£t number in the midft of general 
corruption and depravity, who have kept their garments 
unpolluted, though iniquity abounds, and the Jove of 
many waxeth cold. " That feareth the Lord .'' " You 
"knov^ it is common in fcripture to defcribe religion in ge- 
neral by fome particular leading branch of it. The fear of 
God is often made ufe of for this purpofe, as in that paf- 
fage, there fhail be no w^ant to them xh-axfear him. It 
may, therefore, fignify thofe who have a fincere and un- 
feigned regard to the commandments of God, and have 
chofen him as their portion and hope. Thofe who de- 
fire and deferve to be dilllnguifhed from the profane de- 
fpifer — the fecure formalill, or the dil'guifed hypocrite. 
Thofe, in a word, who are, and who defire to appear to 
ufe the ftrong language of fcripture upon the Lord's fide 
in every druggie, and whorefolve with Jofhua, that what- 
ever others do, for their part they will ferve the Lord. 

But I cannot help thinking, we may alfo, with great 
fafety, explain the words in a clofer and ftriiter fenfe, and 
fuppofe, that by fearing the Lord is to be underflood a due 
reverence for his infinite majefty, a humble veneration 
for his facred authority. This is a mod excellent fence 
or guard to the confcience in an evil time, and a noble 
prefervative from the fpreading infedlion and infinuatlng 
poifon of prevailing or fadiionable fins. It is alfo the ufu- 
al charader of a diifolute age to have cad od'fear, to treat 
the mod facred things v/iih fcorn, and to look upon that 



j8o Trust In God. 

holy foUcitude to avoid fin, which appears in the carriage 
and language of a child of God, as a mark of meannefs 
or weaknefs of mind. In fiich an age, one who fears 
God is well defcribed by the prophet Ifaiah. "But to 
" this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a 
*' contrite fpirit, and trembleth at my word.'' 

The next part of the charadler is, " and obeyeth the 
'' voice of his fervant ;" that is to fay, is willing to heark- 
en to the meffage of God, by the mouth of his fervants. 
The words of the text, no doubt, may be confidered as 
primarily referring to the infpired prophets, who bore an 
immediate commiffion, miraculoufly attelled, from God. 
Many, even of ihefe, were fet at nought, their meffage de- 
rided, and their perfons infulted, when they attempted to 
ftem the tide of prevailing vice, or boldly denounced the 
divine vengeance againfl: high-handed finners. But the 
fmcerely pious obeyed their voice. I fliall make no fcru- 
ple to apply this to ourfelves, and the prefcnt age. Our 
bleffed Redeemer hath ellabliihed in his church a flandin^ 
riiniftry, and the regular adminidration of ordinances. 
And though we have this treafure in earthen vefTels, yet 
in no other way doth he now communicate his will, and 
Youchiiife his prefence to his people, but by the reading 
and hearing of his word, and attendance upon his infiitu- 
ted worlhip. It will, no doubt, therefore, be a part of the 
charaCier of a good man, that he will love the ordinances, 
and obey die voice of the fervants of God, that he will 
confider hini who hath fent them, and receive inftrudion, 
not as the word of man, but as it is in deed and in truth, 
the Vvord of God. 

On the other hand, when iniquity prevails, when irrc- 
ligion and profancnefs lift up iheir heads, one of the mofl 
ufual concomitants, and one of the furell ])roofs of it, is a 
neglect of ordinances, and contempt of thole who are con- 
cerned in their adminillra^ion : how far this is at prefent 
the cafe, I leave to yourfelves to judge. While I fpcak 
this, my brethren, I do by no means defire to fee an igno- 
rant people didracted by the gloomy terrors of fupeiiliti- 
on, or led blindfold by the enchanted cord of imjilicit 
faith. But fare 1 am, there is an extreme on eitlicr hand, 



Trust i?i God. i8i 

and thofe who truly fear the Lord, will honor the perfons, 
and obey the voice of fuch as plead his caufe and fpeak in 
his name. You may reO. aiTured, that tliough they neither 
deferve nor claim any authority on their own account, yet 
fo long as they Hand in the divine counfels, and fpeak the 
divine word, their meifao-e will be attended with this awful 
fandlion, " He that defpifeth you, defpifeth me, and hs 
*' that defjjifeth me defpifeth him that lint nie." 

The lalt part of the chara6ler here drawn, which lays the 
foundation for the fubfequent direflion is, " that walketh 
" in darknefs and hath no light." Darkncfs and liglit, 
befides their literal, have often a metaphorical fenfe in 
fcripture. They are, indeed, ufed with a good deal of 
latitude and variety. But I think their metaphorical fig- 
nification may be reduced to thefe two general heads. 

1. Sometimes light fignifies knowledge, and darknefs 
fignines ignorance — as in Eph. v. 8. " Ye were fometimes 
*' darknefs, but now are ye llglit in the Lord, walk as 
" children of light." Ads xxvi. i8. "To turn thein 
" from darknefs unto light, and from the power of Satan 
" unto God.'' Job xxxvii. 19. " Teach us what VvC fhall 
" fay unto him, for we cannot order our fpeech by reafon 
" of darknefs." 

2. Sometimes darknefs fignifies diflrefs or trouble, and 
the correfpondent fignincation of light is deliverance and 
joy, as 2 Sam. xxii, 28, 29. " And the alSided people 
" thou wilt fave, but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that 
'' thou mayed bring them dov/n, for thou art my lamp, 
" O Lord, and the Lord will lighten my darknefs." Job 
xix. 8. " lie hath fenced up my v/ay that I cannot pafs ; 
'' he hath put darknefs in my paths." Plalm xcvii. n. 
" Light is fovvn for the righteous, and gladnefs for the 
" upright in heart." ERher viii. 16. " And the Jews had 
" light, and gladnefs, and joy and honor." 

None of thefe fenfes is to [)e excluded in the paflage be- 
fore us. Believers may walk in darknefs, when ignorant 
or uncertain as to what, nearly concerns them, as well as 
under diftrefs and trouble. They have alio a m.utual in- 
fluence upon, produce, and are produced by, one another. 
For illufirating this a little more particularly, obferve, 



i82 Trust in God. 

that a gooJ man may walk in darknefs. i. When he is 
in doubt or uncertainty as lo his intereft in the divine fa- 
vor. 2. When he is under the j)rcfrLire of outward cala- 
mity. 3. When the fbte of the church is fuch, that he 
cannot underlland or explain, in a fatisfying manner, the 
courfe of divine providence. Thcfe particulars I have it 
not in view to enlarge much upon, but only to explain 
them fo far as is necelfay to lay a foundation for what fhall 
be afterwards offered on the duty to truft in God. 

I. Then, a good man may walk in darknefs when he 
is in doubt or uncertainty as to his intereft in the divine 
favor. I apprehend that fome meafure of hope in God's 
mercy is eflential to true piety, and not only the right, but 
the poiFcirion of every child of Cod. Faith and defpair 
are beyond all quedion inconliilent. Faith and hope are 
jnfeparable. Yet certainly the excellent ones of the earth 
may be fomctimes involved in great perplexity and doubt. 
This is plain from fcripture examples, from daily experi- 
ence, and from the nature and reafon of the thing. How 
violent a ilrugglc do we often find tlie Pfcdmiil David in, 
between hope and fear ? " O my Gcd, my foul is call: 
" down in me ; therefore v/ill I remember thee from the 
" land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill 
••' Mizar." How many do we fee every day under a fpirit 
of bondage, who, though they Hill cleave to God as their 
portion, yet arc often full of i'ears, and feldom dare confi- 
dently afii'irm th.eir intereft in, or relation to him. And 
indeed how can it beotherwife ? AVhile we are here, our 
fanclification is but imperfeit ; and alas ! with regard to 
many, it is often hard to determine, whether we fliould 
not write upon it, mene tekel^ as effentially defedlive. 

Sin feparatcs betu-een God and his people, and caufes 
liim to hide his face from them. Nay, fomctimes, though 
there be no particular or provoking crime, as the caufe of 
his controverfy with them, he may withdraw from them 
the light of his countenance, toexercife tlieir vigihuice, or 
to try their patience. I know, my breduen, that the dif- 
trefsof ferious fouls, when mourning afieran abfcnt or an 
angry God, crying to him in fecret, and following hard 
iiflcr him in his ordinances, is by many treated w iih the 



Trust In Go:!. 1S3 

higheft deojree of contempt. But ibrely, if peace of mind 
from a v/ell- founded hope of the divine favor, is the jijreat- 
eft of all prefent blefiings : and if this, from the variable- 
nefs of our ov/n conduct, is fornetimes more, fometimes 
lefs ilrong, and fornetimes v/holly fufpendcd : when this 
)a(l is the cafe, it muft occafion inexpreffible concern, and 
there can be no greater evidence ot irreligion and impitt}-, 
than to call it in queflion. 

2. A good man may walk in darknefs when under the 
prefTure of outward calamity. This, in a real believer, 
is never wholly feparated from the former. Even in it- 
felf, indeed, no affliction for the prefent is joyous but 
grievous. The diforders of this feeble frame, poverty 
and ftraitnefs of ])rovifion, unjuft flander and reproach, 
muft be deeply and fenfibly felt by every good man, even 
as he is a man. To this may be added, the lofs of rela- 
tions, and concerns for the fuflerings of others of evary 
kind, which is always moft diftrefting to the beft and ten- 
dereft fpirits. But outward calamities by thofe that fear 
God, are felt moft fenfibly when they are confidered as 
the rod of his anger, and bring fni to rem.embrance. 

When he vifils his own children with an}' of his fore 
judgments; when he follows them with breach upon 
breach, they are read}' to fay, " Surely he is fetting me 
*'' up as a mark for his arrows, he is counting me his ena-. 
*' my." — They are often at a lofs to underftand the caufe 
of his controverfy with them ; and they alfo find it often 
extremely difficult to bring their minds to a patient and 
fubmiiTive rtlignation to his holy will. To thcfi Vv'ho 
knov/ their duty, and defire through divine grace to com- 
ply v/ith it, it is no fmall difficulty to be obliged to ftrug- 
gle with a riung and rebellious heart within, as well as 
fuiFering from without, and to be alternately calling in 
queftion, the certainty either of the love of God to them., 
or of their love to him. 

3. A Qood man may fornetimes walk in darknefs from 
the afpeft of Providence, and the ftate of the Redeemer's 
kingdom. The works of God are fought out of them who 
have pleafure in them. But when they are not able to 
penetrate the depths of the divine counfels, this becomes 



1 84 Trust in God. 

often r. fource both of diflrefs an;l temptation. When 
wicked men are fiifTered to prolper at their will — when 
the good are opprefled by the power and tyranny, or per- 
Iccutcd by the malice, of their enemies — when the moll 
generous attempts for the revival of truth and righteouf- 
nefs are rendered abortive — when the profcfling fcrvants 
of God are divided into parties, or marfiialled under 
names, and their zeal made to fpend itfelf in unnecefliuy, 
finfal and hurtful contentions — when offences come, and 
and thole of the highefl: profeffion or attainments are fuf- 
fered to fall into grofs crimes, by which the mouths of 
enemies are opened to blafpheme; then may, and muft 
we adopt the vi'ords of the Pfalmill — Pi". Ixxiii. lo — 14. 
"Therefore, h.is people return hither; and Vv'aters of a 
*' full cup are wrung out unto them : And they fay, how 
" doth God know ? and is there knovvledcre in the Moft 
** High ? Behold, thefe are the ungodly who profj^er in the 
" world ; they increafe in riches. Verily, I have cleanfed 
'■'• my lieart in vain, and walhed my hands in iimocency. 
" For all the day long have I been plagued, and chaftened 
" every morning." 

I proceed now to the second and chief thing propofed 
from this paifage, wiilch was to explain the duty of trull 
in Cod, and to point out its foundation. 

Trull, in^he moll general viev/ v/e can tal:e of it, may 
b^ thus explained. It is a reliance or confidence in God, 
that however difcouraging appearances may be for the 
prefent time, yet, by'his power and vvifdom, our dcfires 
ar.d expectations Ihall take place, whether as to deliver- 
ance from trouble, or the obtaining of future bleliings. — 
When \vc can attain this happy frame of fpirit, it is an in- 
conceivable relief and eafe to tlie mind under fuffcring, 
and is excellently exprelftid by the Pfalmiil — Pfal. Iv. 22. 
" Call .thy burden upon the Lord, and lie fliall fullain 
^*' thee, he fliall never fuiTer the rigliteous to be moved." 
'Let us "thfi?«]uleavor to explain the grounds of this as dif- 
tinilly as p'omble. \And God grant that it may be done, 
nt)t only in a. clear^ but. in a iblid and fatisfying manner, 
lb as to affid v.bu in the hracVlTce of real and vital religion. 

■■•1 /' / • 




Trust in God. 185 

t have already faid, that our expeclatlon is from the 
power and vvlfdom of God. May we then reafonably ex- 
pe6t, and is it our duty to believe, that we fliall receive 
all that "we de fire, and that is within the reach of divine 
power and wifdom ? Thefe have no bounds at all. We 
know that nothing is too hard for the Almighty. He doth 
according to his will in the armies or heaven and among 
the inhabitants of the earth. Tnis fuggefts to us that there 
is fomething more necelTary, in order to lay a proper foun- 
dation for trufi:, viz. his goodnefs, to make cur expeflati- 
on probable, and his promife to make it certain. Even 
created beings can often do what they will not. This 
holds particularly with regard to God, whofe power is 
directed in its exercife by his goodnefs, and limited by 
his wifdom. His goodnefs, in general, encourages us to 
go to him with a peradventure, or who can tell whether 
he may not be gracious I But in order to make our trufl: 
both diftindt and llrong, we mufi: go to his promife, " for 
" he is faithful and keepeth covenant and truth for ever." 
Truft then, my brethren, reds ultimately on the promife. 
It mufl be precifely commenfurate, or of the fame extent 
with the promifes. Whoever doubts or calls in quefliori 
the certainty of what God hath promifed, is chargeable 
with dillrufi: ; and whoever expe^ls to receive, in kind or 
degcee, more than he has promifed, is fo far guilty of pre- 
fumption. Tnis is the general rule, and I think it car- 
ries fuch evidence with it, that every one mull be fenfible 
it is juft, who hadi heard it with any meafure of attention. 

But the great difficulty yet remains, which is, to apply 
this rule to the various cafes that occur in the fpiritual life, 
and to tell any particular perfon what it is his duty firmly 
to believe, and hope he jhall receive from God, and what 
it would be prefumptuous and finful in him to fix his ex- 
peflation on. This is plainly of the greater importance, 
that the more particular our trull is, as to the objedl of 
defi*re, it is the more powerful a fupport to the mind. At 
the lame time it frequently happens, that the more parti- 
•cularly oardefires are formed, the foundation of our 'hope 
appears the more uncertain and queftionable. On this 
account you may obferve, that it is of thegreateft moment 

Vol. II. A a 



1^6 Trust in God. 

to underftand the nature and tenor of the promifes ; or 
rather, indeed, to explain the foundation of truft, and to 
explain the nature and tenor of the promifes is one and the 
fame thing. 

For this end, it may be proper to diftinguifli the proml- 
fes of God, as to futurity, into two heads, abfolute and 
conditional. By abfolute promifes, in this place, I un- 
derfland only thofe that are fo in the moll unlimited fenfe, 
that is to fay, revealed as a part of the fixed plan of Pro- 
vidence, fufpended on no terms but what all, of every 
character, may expedl will certainly come to pafs. Such 
are the promifes after the flood, that fummer and winter, 
feed time and harvell fliould not fail — the coming of Chrift 
in the flefli at the fulnefs of time, to the ancient Patriarchs, 
and to us — the downfall of Antichrifl: — the prefervation 
o4" a church on earth, let its enemies be or do what thev 
will — the calling of God's ancient people, the Jews, and 
the coming of Chrift to judge the world at the lafl day. 
Thefe are all called promifes in fcripture, and fo far as 
they can be of any ufe to the people of God, either for di- 
rection in duty, or reltraint from fm, or confolation un- 
der trial, they are to be depended on, in the mofi. abfolute 
manner, for they red upon the certainty of the holy fcrip- 
tures, and the truth of the uncliangeable God, who " is 
" not a man that he ihould lie, nor the fen of man that he 
" fliould repent." 



C 187 ] 



TRUST IN GOD. 

SERMON 26. 



ISAIAH 1. 10. 



Wio is among you that feareth the Lord^ that obeyeth the 
voice of his servant, that xvalketh in darkness, and hath no 
light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon 
his God. 

'AVING, in a former difcourfe, opened the charac- 
^ ^ ter and flate of diofe who are called upon, and ex- 
horted to truft in the name of the Lord, and entered upon 
the fecond thing propofed, which was to explain the duty 
of truft in God, and to point out its foundation ; and ha- 
ving in this view confidered the nature of abfolute pro- 
mifes — I proceed, 

2. To confider the nature and ufe of conditional pro- 
mi fes. Thefe I am obliged, for greater diftindlnefs, to 
divide into three different heads, — i. There are promifes 
made to perfons of fuch or fuch a charadter, or in fuch or 
fuch a ftate. — 2. There are promifes, the performance of 
which is fufpended on our compliance with fomething 
previoufly required, as the condition of obtaining them. — 
3. There are promifes, not only fufpended on both the 
preceding terms, but upon the fuppofition of fome cir- 
cumftances in themfelves uncertain, or to us unknown. 
Let us confider each of thefe with care and attention. 



j88 Trust in God. 

I. There are promifc3 made to perfons of fuch or fuch 
a characler, or in fnch or fuch a ftate, which are, there- 
fore, to be apjjlied, and relied on, according as the evi- 
dence of our being of this charadler, or in this flate, is 
clear or obfcure. In this I have particularly in view, the 
bleffings of falvation, the pardon of fin, peace with God, 
ths f])irit of fandliiication, and a right to everlalling life. 
Thefe all lie in an unbroken chain and infeparable con- 
nexion, and might have been more briefly exprefled, by 
an interclt in Chrifl; the Saviour, who is the author, fource 
and funi of thefe bleffings ; " for all the promifcs of God 
" in him, are yea, and in him amen, to the glory of God 
" by us." Let no judicious attentive hearer be furprifed 
or dilFatisfied, that I haye ranked thefe among conditional 
promifcs, for you may obferye that I have exprefl'ed my- 
felf thus, they are promifes made to peifons of luch or fuch 
^ charadler, or in fuch or fuch a (late. In this, they cer- 
tainly differ from the promifes properly abfolute, menticn- 
jsd above. It is far from my intention to do injury to that 
fundamental truth, that falvation is by grace. I efteem 
that dodrine which proceeds upon a felf- righteous fyfiem, 
to be contrary to the word of God, and moli pernicious to 
the fouls of men. There is nothing at all required in 
fcripture to be performed by us, as a purchafing or meri- 
ting condition. Every gracious a6l of the divine govern- 
ment in our favor, is the fruit of the Redeemer's purchafe, 
and every holy difpofition wrought in us, is the effc6l of 
his almighty grace. But it is certain, at the fame time, 
that in order to our accepting thofe blefhngs, we mufl be 
truly and deeply hunibkd, and fee ourfclves to be incapa- 
ble and helplcls. We mull be unfeignedly v. illing to re- 
nounce all claim of merit, and accept of falvation as it is 
offered in the gofi)el ; that is, in its full extent, and in the 
free and ibvereign manner of its communication. So far, 
furely, we mufi fay, the promifes of the gofpel are condi-, 
tional, or wholly pervert t'.ie word of God. I know of no 
promifes then to the unbelieving and impenitent, unlefs 
you call that a promife, that they {liall have *•' their portion 
" in the lake of fire that burneth with bj-imOone ; ar.d that 
" the fmoke of their torment afcendetli up forever and 
'' ever." 



Trust in God. i^^ 

Hear It, my dear brethren, it is the needy, thirdy, fenfi- 
ble foul, that is invited to come and find reft. *' Ho ! 
" every one that thirfteth, come ye to the vi^aters ; and he 
" that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come 
*' buy wine and mitk without money and without price. 
" Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
" and I will give you rell." If any fiiall think fit further 
to fay, that the very defrination of the velfels of mercy, is 
of God's fovereign pleafure, that convi6lion itfelf is by a 
day of his power, and that faith which interefls us in 
Chrift's righteoufnefs is his gift ; I agree to the whole, but 
obferve that it is improperly introduced here. No ufe 
can pofTibly be made of the divine decree in the applica- 
tion of the promifes. It is inverting the order of things. 
Can any man fay, I trufi: in the mercy of God, becaufe I 
have been ordained to ev^rlafting life ? No man can de- 
rive comfort from this, till by his efFeftual calling it is 
publilhed, and begins to be accompliflied ; and then he 
may look back with wonder and gratitude to thateverlaft- 
ing love, by which he was chofen in Chrift, before the 
foundation of the world. Can you judge of the fruit of a 
tree by looking upon the root ? No, but you judge of the 
ftrength and deepnefs of the root, by the fulneis of the 
fruit, and the vigor and verdure of the branches. Front 
an improper mixture of what belongs to the fecret will of 
God, and what belongs to us, as our duty, much error 
and confufion arifes. 

Now, my brethren, as to the application of thefe promi- 
fes of pardon and peace, the humbled finner, the man 
among us who walketh in darknefs and hnth no light — 
who is burdened with a {iin{t of guilt, and difcouraged by 
the threatenings of the law, the accufations of confcience, 
and the pure and holy nature of God ; who perhaps has 
all this aggravated by diftrefsand trouble, is called to truft 
in-the name of the Lord, and ftay himfelfupon his God. 
He is invited to confider and reft on the extent of the call, 
the immutability of the promife, and the riches of divine 
grace. If he is fo far from pleading any merit in himfelf, 
or being dilTatisfied with the plan of falvation laid down in 
the Gofpel, that he is making every thing rn argument 



igo Trust in Gad. 

agjiinft himfelf, and dare not lay hold of, or appropriate fo 
unfpeakable a mercy : This is juft the efied of diftrufl:, 
and he is called, in the flrongeil manner, in the text, to 
**trufl: in the name of the Lord, and (lay upon his God." 
With how many gracious aflurances for this purpofe is the 
fcripture filled. John vi. 37. " All that the Father hath 
*' given me fliall come to me, and him that cometh unto 
" me I will in no M'ife call out." Heb. vii. 25. "Where- 
" fore he is able alfo to fave them to the uttermod that 
*' come to God by him, feeing he ever liveth to make in- 
*' terceffion for ihem." Rev. xxii. 17. "And the fpirit 
'' and the bride lay, Come. And let him that heareth fay, 
" Gome. And let him that is athirft come. And who- 
*' foever will, let him take of the water of life freely." All 
things, Chrifl excepted, are to be renounced, and the all- 
fufEciency of a Redeemer is to be the foundation of our 
hope. The penitent will fay with the apoflle, Phil. iii. 8, 
*' Yea, doubtlefs, and I count all things but lofsfor the ex- 
" cellency of the knowledge of Ghrift Jel'us my Lord : 
" for whom I have fiiflered die lofs of all things, and do 
'■'■ count them but dung, that I may win Chrift, and be 
*' found in him, not having mine own righteoufnefs which 
" is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Chrill, 
•' even the righteoufnefs which is of God by fliith." 

2. There is a fecond clafs of promifes, the performance 
of which is fufpended on our previous compliance with 
fometliing required as the condition of obtaining them. In 
thefe we are not only called to accept of the divine mercy, 
but commanded to obey the divine will. The order in 
which I have placed thefe, will, I hope, prevent you from 
mifunderllanding or milapplying what may be faid on 
them. This clafs includes all the promifes in fcripture 
regarding the daily progrefs of a believer in his fan(5lifica- 
tion and conformity to God, as well as the increafe of his 
comfort and peace. I am fenfible, that as the reconcilia- 
tion of a fmner to God, and his right to what is called in 
fcriptare the promise of eternal life, is of free and unme- 
rited mercy, fo, no doubt, all the inferior or fubordinate 
promifes flow from the fame fource, nay, in a certain 
meafare, they aie entirely upon the iiuiie footing with 



Trust in God iQt 

thofe formerly mentioned; that is to fliy, final perseve- 
rance, real growth in the fpiritual life, and neceffary com- 
fort, are the fure and purchafed portion of every one that is 
born of God. Rom. viii. 29. " For whom he did fore- 
*' know, he alfo did prededinate to be confornied to the 
" image' of his Son, that he might be the iirftd^orn among 
" many brethren." But in the diftribution of thofe gifts, 
particularly in their meafure, there is not only an un- 
known regard to the good pleafure of God, but a known 
and ellabriihed regard to our conduft in duty. Thus the 
abundant fupply of the fpiritis the fruit and return of di- 
ligence in prayer. Matth. vii. 7. " Aflv and it fhall be 
" given you, feek and ye Ihall find, knock and it fliall be 
" opened unto ycu." See alfo Ezekiel xxxvi. 25. com- 
pared with the 37th, "Then will I fprinkle clean water 
♦' upon you, and ye fliall be clean; from all your filthinefs 
" and from all your idols will I cleanfe you." &c. Thus. 
" l\iith the Lord, yet for all this will I be enquired of by 
" the houfe of Ifrael to do it for them." Thus alfo inwarcf 
confolation, as well as ouUvard fecurity, is exprefsly pro- 
mifed as the effect and reward of uniformity and diligence 
in duty. Ifa. xxxii. 17. " And the workof righteoufnefs 
*' Hiall be peace, and the effett of righteouhiels quietnel^ 
" and alfurance for ever." As the counterpart and illuf- 
tration of this, you fee, th it a departure from the path of 
duty brings on die threatened, or perhaps I ought to call it 
ths'p''0"^i^'^^^' ^'^^ ofcorreaion. Pfalm Ixxxix. 30—33. 
" But if his children fliall forfake my law, and not walk 
" in my Judgments; if they break my ihitutes, and keep 
*' not my commandments ; then will I vilit their trani- 
" orefiions widi a rod, and their iniquities with firipes. 
" Nevenhelefs, my loving-kindnefs will I not take from 
" him, nor fuffer my faithfulnefs to lail." In the fame, 
manner, Ifa. xl. 30, 31, " Even the youths Cliall faint ancl. 
*' be weary, and the young men fliall utterly fall : But 
" they that wait upon the Lord ihall renew their flrength ; 
*' they fhall mount up with wings as eagles ; they fhall 
" run and not be weary — they fliall walk and not faint.'* 
Agreeably to all this, you know, our blefied Lord prefcri- 
bed watchfulnefs and nraver as the great prefervatives 



19^ Tru.n in God. 

againfl: temptation, and whoever expecls either fplritual 
flrength or comfort, while he relaxes his diligence in the 
way of duty, is guilty of that fin, which is called in Icrip- 
ture, tempting God ; and fliall alluredly meet with a 
dreadful difappointment. 

My brethren, as much of the daily exercife of real be- 
lievers regards their progrefs in fanftification, and their 
peace and comfort, it is proper that you fhould carefully 
attend to the tenor of thefe promifes, and to what ought to 
be your reliance upon them. I fliall fum up, in a few par- 
ticulars, what I apprehend to be of mofl importance, 

1. Trull in thefe promifes implies feli-deaial, and a 
deep ienfe of your own weaknefs. Thefe promifes would 
be unneceflary and fuperfluous, were we not infufficient of' 
curfelves for any thing that is good. Truft in God Rands 
direQly oppofed to all felf-dependance. Proverbs iii. 5. 
'• Trull in the Lord with all thine heart, ?ind lean not to 
*' thine own underftanding." How jealous God is, if I 
may fpeak fo, of the honor that is due to him in this re- 
fpe£t, may be {ttw from the many foul and fliameful 
crimes into which he permitted fome of his bell: faints to 
fall, when they were off their guard by lloth, or Hill more 
provoked him by pride and prefumption. Noah's drunk- 
ennefs, Mofes's palFion, David's adultery and murder, 
and Peter's denial of his mailer, i Cor. x. 11, 12. " Now 
" all thefe things happened unto them for eniAUiples, and 
*' they are written for our admonition, upon whom the 
*' ends of the world are come. Wherefore, let him that 
*' thinketh he flandeth, take heed left he fiiil." For this 
reafon the apollle Paul fays with great propriety, and with 
great force, which is equally applicable to himfeif and 
other believers, afeeming paradox, i Cor. xii. 10. "For 
" when I am weak, then I am ilrong." 

2. As we are to put no truft in ourfelves, fo we are to 
exercife the mofl unlhaken confidence of our being able 
to difcharge any duty or undergo any trial by the help of 
the Almighty — Oh! how ready .are we to fin on both 
hands? How often do we prefume upon our own ftrengih 
and forget the necefiity of applying for divine aid ? — And 
Q\\ the other hand, how prone are we to timidity or de- 



Trust in God, 193 

l^ondence \\\ difficult cafes ? When corruptions have long 
kept their ground, we are ready to dread their influence, 
and to make but little out of the promifes in fcripture, 
that we fliall be made " more than conquerors through 
" him that loved us." We have learned, by fad expe- 
rience, that in us dwelleth no good thing, and yet it is 
long before we will attend to the leflbn that follows hard 
upon it, " My grace is fufficient for thee, and my ftrength 
" lliall be made perfe6l in weaknefs." 

3. As thefe promifes are exprefsly made to the dili- 
gent, you mull flill remember that your own attention and 
application to duty is eflentially neceifary, and that the 
affiflance promifed from on high, is always reprefented in 
fcripture as an argument and encouragement to diligencCj 
and not a warrant or excufe for floth. Philip, ii. 12* 
*' Work out your own falvation with fear and trembling, 
" for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of 
-• his good pleafure." It is alfo well worthy of notice, 
that the fame prophet Ezekiel, who fays, chap, xxxvi. 
26. " A new heart alfo will I give you, and a new 
" fpirit will I put within you," changes the form of his 
cxpreflion ; and in another place, chap, xviii. 31, 32, 
fpeaks in the following terms ; " Cafi: away from you all 
" your tranfgreffions whereby ye have tranfgreffed ; and 
*' make you a new heart and a new fpirit; for why will 
*' ye die, O houfe of Ifrael ? For I have no pleafure ia 
*' the death of him that dieth, faith the Lord God ; where- 
" fore turn yourfelves, and live ye." In conlequence of 
this, 

z[. In the lafl: place, truft in God will make us ready 
to acknowledge, that when we fail in duty, when we for- 
get or break our refolutions, the fault is certainly in our- 
felves. It is impoffible to excufe or juflify ourfelves in 
any degree, without laying the blame, in the fame pro- 
portion, upon God, and calling in queftion his faithful- 
nefs and truth. But whatever our treacherous hearts 
may fmfully fuggeft, v/e are not ilraitened in God, but 
ftraitened in our own bowels. We find him pleading his 
own caufe, in this refpeft, in many paflages of fcripture. 
Ifa. lix. I. " Behold, the Lord's hand is not fliorteued, 

Vol. IL B b 



194 Trust in God. 

" that it cannot fave ; neither his ear heavy, that he can- 
*' not hear ; but your fins have feparated between you and 
** your God, and your iniquities have hid his face from 
" you, tliat he will not hear." Upon the whole, trull in 
thefe pron)ifc3 is no other than an humble and diligent 
application to duty, under a deep fenfe of weaknefs, and 
dependance on promifed llrength, accompanied with a 
firm perfuafion, that " in the name of the Lord we fliall 
*' tread down our enemies," and go on from flrength to 
llrength, " till we appear before God in Zion." 

3. Another clafs of promifes are thofe that are fuf- 
pended, not only on the fame conditions with the two 
former, but upon fome other circumllances in themfelves 
uncertain, or to us unfeen. Thefe are temporal mercies 
or rather temporal profperity, deliverance from prefent 
diftrefs, and abundance or affluence of outward enjoy- 
ments. Perhaps we may alio add fpiritual confolation, 
and fenfible joy in God. i find no temporal promife 
precifely fixed to the fervant of God but this : '' Bread 
*' Hiall be given him, and his water fliall be fure ?" and it 
is certainly his duty, in the molt firaitening circumdlan- 
ces, to maintain a confident dependance on the power 
and wif lorn of Providence for neceffary fupply. I do not 
condemn thofe, who, when reduced to extremity, have 
adually pleaded this divine promife, and a;:^ainll hope, 
have believed in hope ; and I am periuaded, inilances 
have not been wanting, of relief furnifhed in a manner 
next to miraculous. But as to every other degree of tem- 
poral profperity, God hath referved it in his own hand to 
give or v\ ith-hold it at his pleaiure, that is, as he fees it 
will he mod for his glory, and the benefit of his people. 
It is lav/ful then, m.y brethren, for you to er.deavor to 
procure, by honefl indnflry, the increafe of your I'ubuance, 
to look well to the Hate of your flocks and } our herds, 
and to alk by prayer the bleiTmg of God upon your labors. 
It is lawful, and it is your duty, by regularity and care to 
preferve life and health, as well as to ailv of the Father of 
vour fpirits, recovery from ficknefs, or d«:liverance from 
?^nY other kind of dillrefs. But you are not warranted to 
believe that thefe petitions fliall be granted in hand, or ia 



Trust In God. ^ 195 

your own time and meafure, even though you afl<: them in 
fincerity with the prayer of faith. There may be reafons 
for with-holding them, and yet you may be accepted in 
your prayers. An infinitely wife God knows beft what 
is for your good, and he only hath a right to determine 
in what part of his own fervice ; where and how long he 
fliall employ you. Truft in God, therefore, in this re- 
Ipea, implies a careful attention to the tenor of the pro- 
Riifes with regard to temporal mercies, and not to look 
for, or even, if pofllble, defire what he hath not promifed 
to bellow. 

If I am not miRaken, we Ihall find it of moment, upon 
this fubje6\, to obferve, both what he hath not and what 
he hath certainly promifed. He has no where promifed 
that his own people fhall be the richeft or the greatell on 
earth; but he hath certainly promifed to blefs their pro- 
vifion, and alTured them that a little that a juft man hath» 
fliall be better than the riches of many wicked. He has 
not promifed that they fliall be free from fuffering ; but 
he hath certainly ' promifed to fupport them by his own 
prefence under their dillrefs. Ifa. xliii. 2. " When thou 
" paileft through the waters, I will be with thee ; and 
" through the rivers, they flmll not overflow thee ; when 
♦' thou walked through the fire thou fhalt not be burnt ; 
*' neither Ihall the flame kindle upon thee.'* The truth 
is, he hath promifed that " all things fliall work together 
" for their good." In one word, they have indeed all 
mercies promifed, only they themfelves are not in a con- 
dition, at prefent, to judge what they may ufe with fafety, 
and what not. As the heir of an opulent efiate, though 
he is proprietor of all, yet is laid under reftraint while in 
infancy and non-age, becaufe he would foon ruin himfelf if 
it were committed to his own management ; fo the be- 
liever, though an heir of God, and joint heir with Ghrill, 
yet till he is meet for the inheritance, he mud be at his 
Maker's and Redeemer's difpofal. Take in, therefore, 
only this limitation, and then fee his extenfive charter. 
I Cor. iii. 21. " For all things are yours ; whether Paul, 
" or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, 
^' or things prefent, or things to come; all are yours; and 



196 Trust in God. 

" ye arc Chrlfl's, and Chrin: is God's." What then is 
the duty of a child of God ? It is to breathe after more and 
more fubmiffion to the divine will, and to annex this re- 
fervation to every petition of a temporal nature, neverlhe- 
lefs, not my will but thine be done. And oh I my bre- 
thren, how happy the perfon who hath feen the weaknefs 
of human judgment; who waits the intimation of God's 
will, before he will fufler his defires to faflen with eager- 
nefs on any earthly comfort, and who endeavors to keep 
bimfelf free from perplexity, by an humble and fubmiffive 
reliance on the alUfufHciency of God ! 

I obferved in entering on this part of the fubjedl, that 
fpiritual confolation, or fenfible joy in God, is to be con- 
fidered as a promife of the fame clafs, which mufl, there- 
fore, be afked with fubmiffion, and is difpenfed according 
to the good pleafure of a gracious but fovereign God. I 
am fenfible, as has been formerl}'^ obferved, with another 
view, that Ibme degree of comfort neceffarily follows from 
a believer's relation to God, but many pious perfons feem 
to defire and to expedl fenfible comfort in a higher mea- 
fure than God fees it meet to give them, or, than is pro- 
per for them in the prefent ilate. It is with fpiritual prof- 
perity as with temporal, every one cannot bear it. There- 
fore, it is our duty ftill to be fenfible that we have much 
more comfort and peace than we deferve, and as we defire 
and ftrive for greater degrees of it, to accompany thefe de- 
fires with much humility and refignation to the will of 
God. 

I proceed now to the lall: thing propofed, which was to 
rnake a pradlical application of this fubje6l for your in- 
ilruftion and diredion. 

I. From what has been faid, you may fee what judg- 
ment you ought to form of inward fuggellioiis, and itrong 
or particular imprcffions upon your minds. There are 
fome extremely prone to interpret a text of fcripturc, fud- 
tlenly fuggelled to their minds, or any ftrong impreffion 
piadecn them, as an immediate meffage from God, to be 
direftly applied to tliemfelves: Others, in oppofition to 
this, as enthufiaftical and vifionary, feem to give up eve- 
fy expectation of bc'uig able to (ny with the Pfalmiftj, 



Trust in God. 197 

" I blefs the Lord who hath given nie counfel, my reins 
** alfo inftru6l me in the night feafon." I beg, therefore, 
that you may obferve, that the fuggeftion of a paflage of 
fcripture, of itfelf gives no title to the immediate appli- 
cation of it, becaufe the great deceiver may undoubtedly 
lugged fcripture, as we find he could reafon from it in our 
Saviour's temptation. We are, in every fuch cafe, to 
confider the tenor of it, if it be a promife or encourage, 
ment, that is, how and in what manner it may be fafely 
applied. If any thing happens to be fuggelled that ex- 
prefsly fuits our prefent condition, either by fetting home 
the obligation of duty, with particular evidence upon the 
confcience, or pointing out the grounds of comfort, it 
ought to be thankfully acknowledged as from the fpirit of 
God. For example, if a perfon under the power of a 
fpirit of bondage, and fear of divine wrath, hath fuggefted 
to him any of the extenfive gracious affurances of mercy 
to the chief of fmners, it is his duty to lay hold of it. It 
is dire6lly fuited to his condition, and would be the very 
thing that a wife and judicious paftor would recommend 
to him for his relief. He may therefore, without hefita- 
tion, blefs God for it, if it is brought with power and ef- 
ficacy upon his heart. In the fame manner, if a perfon 
under trouble hath fuggefted to him any of the promifes of 
fupport under it, furely he ought, in the difcharge of his 
duty, firmly to rely on the accomplifliment of that part of 
the word of God. But in the reflex examination of a 
perfon's character or flate, to apply the fudden fuggeftion 
of a promife or privilege, perhaps of a conditional nature, 
is certainly both finful and dangerous. Sinful, becaufe 
without warrant ; and dangerous, becaufe leading to de- 
lufion. 

2. From what hath been faid, you may fee what it is 
that we ought to feek for with the greatefl: earneftnefs, 
and may hope to obtain with the greatefi: confidence. 
Recollect, I befeeeh you, the order in which I have men- 
tioned the promifes of God as the objefts of trufl and re- 
liance. Firft of all the promifes of falvation, deliverance 
fi'om the guilt pf fin, and a right to everlaiUng life j next 



19S Trust hi God. 

whatever is neceffary to the prefervation and improvement 
of the fpiritual hfe ; and then in the third place, proper 
accomnsodation and fuitable provifion in our paflage 
through the prefent world. They are here ranked accord- 
ing to their value in themfelves, and the value which we 
ihould put upon them. Let us, therefore, take care that 
we never violate this order, which is neceffary, not only 
becaufe of their comparative value, but becaufe of their 
mutual influence one upon another. It is in vain for us 
to expe6\ to attain to the habit or .pradice of holinefs, till 
we are united to God by faith in Jeh.s Chrift. All the 
promifes of the gofpel are ratified in him. All the divine 
iulnefs is treafured up in him. Every divine gift is dif- 
penfed by him. Therefore, he fays John xv. 4. " Abide 
*' in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit 
♦' of itfelf, except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, 
" except ye abide in me." And the apoftle Paul, Gal. ii. 
20, " I am crucified with Chrifl ; neverthelefs 1 live ; 
" yet not 1, but Chrifl liveth in me ; and the life which I 
" now live in the flefli, 1 live by the faith of the Son of 
♦' God, who loved me, and gave himfelf for me." 

In the fame manner nothing can be more pr::'poflerous 
than to fix our alTedions upon temporal mercies, or our 
attention upon the promifes that relate to them, fo as to 
lofe view of our interefl: in God's favor, and the progrefs of 
ourfanftification. All the temporal promifes in fcripture 
are made to the children of God as fuch, and for carrying 
on the purpofes of his grace in them. — Your heavenly 
Father knoweth that ye have need of thefe things. There 
is no promife in the whole volume of infpiration to the 
wicked and impenitent. " There is no peace, faith my 
"•■' God, to the wicked." He will either rebuke them in 
his wrath and chaflen them in his hot difpleafure, or give 
tliem up to a curfed, hardening, llupifying profperity, 
than which, no ftate on earth, is more to be dreaded. — 
Chriftian ! never fuflfer an anxiety about your outward 
liate to fupplant or go before, or even to bs feparated from 
St concern, that you may not be found wanting when 
weighed in the balance of the fanftuary. 



Trust in God. 199 

3. Let me befeech you to adore the wifdom, juflice and 
mercy of God, in the order he hath eftabliihed, accordinfr 
to the differefnt nature of the promifes. That which is of 
moil, nay, properly ipeaking, of unfpeakable vahie, and 
radically contains all the reft, is placed firfl in order, and 
offered in the moft free and gracious manner, without 
money and without price. Salvation is preached to the 
chief of iJnners, and a Saviour held forth as able to fave 
to the uttermoft all that come to God by him. Many 
ufes might be made of this, but the fingle ufe I intend to 
make of it, at prefent, as connected with the duty of truli, 
is to filence the complaints of envy and impatience. How 
prone are many to look with an evil eye upon the more 
extenfive poffeffions and greater apparent outward com- 
fort which others enjoy ? Does it not ailonifli you to think 
how much unbelief and ingratitude there is in thofe re- 
pining thoughts ? Meannefs of rank, and poverty of Itate, 
are no hinderance at all to an interefl: in Chrifl:, and a 
right to everlafting life. Nay, the gofpel is preached to 
the poor. — Many a Lazarus has been carried by the an- 
gels to Abraham's bofom, while the rich and luxurious 
have lifted up their eyes in torments. Will you, can you, 
dare you then complain ? Will you envy the man of the 
world, his ftately palace — his elegant furniture, and his 
fumptuous fare ? What is the amplefi: portion in the pre- 
fent life compared with the fure m.ercies of David? What 
child of God would exchange with any wicked man a 
prifon for a palace, or a fcaffold for a throne ? 

I befeech you to add to all this, that, even with regard 
to prefent peace or comfort, there is no comparifon be- 
tween a good man and a bad. " A man's life doth not 
" confid in the abundance of the things which he poffeffes.'* 
This is a truth not only often repeated in the facred ora- 
cles, but written in the cleareft and moft legible charac- 
ters in the hiilory of Providence. — Nay, even indepen- 
dently of virtue or religion itfelf, every human calamity, 
whether arifmg from ficknefs, reproach, contention, fear, 
or ungratified defire, rages with greater violence in the 
higher, than in the lower flatlons of life. A vain and 
conceited monarch once feut to afK at an heathen oracle, 



200 



Trust in God. 



who was the happieft man on earth ? and met with a de- 
ferved difappointment in the reply. If we fhould put a 
qiieflion much more profitable, as well as much more ea- 
iily refolved, in what rank of life the moftexquifite human 
mifery has been found ? I have no doubt but it ought to 
be anfwered, upon a throne. Experience will always ra- 
tify the wife man's obfervation : Better is a dinner of 
herbs ^bere lo'ue is, than a stalled ox and hatred there- 
ivitb, A fancTtified lot is an ineftimable treafure. The 
bleffing of God on a cruife of oil, and a pot of meal, is 
better than inexhaullible mines of gold and filver. What 
caufe of contentment and patience to the child of God ! 
In the lafl place, you may learn from what has been 
faid on the fubje(5t, what is the plainelf, the fliortell, and 
indeed the only fure way to deliverance from diflrefs or 
calamity of whatever kind. It is to fly to the mercy of 
God through the blood of Chrilf, to renew the exercifes of 
faith in him, and, in proportion as it pleafes God to fill 
you with all joy and peace in believing, you will perceive 
every other covenant-bleffing flow clear and unmixed 
from this inexhaufled fource. It will lead to repentance, 
humiliation and fubmiffion. The fan6tified ufe of the af- 
fliction will be obtained, and this brings deliverance of it- 
felf ; for no rod will be continued longer, than it hath an- 
fwered its end. At any rate, when fuftering is neceflary, 
jrrace, to fufter with patience, fliall not be withheld. — ■ 
Would you have any more, and is not this remedy always 
at hand ? Can the poorell: man fay it is not within the 
reach of his purfe ? It is, at once, efFe6"lual and univerfal. 
It was once faid in contempt of a worthy and pious mi- 
niRer, that he made fo much of the blood of Chrift, that 
he would apply it even to a broken bone. But bating 
what may be thought indecent in the exprefhon, chofen 
on purpofe to bring a good man into ridicule, the thing 
ilfelf, 1 m?ke bold to affirm, is a great and a precious 
truth. Faith in the blood of Chrifl: makes a man fuperior 
to all fuftcrings. It foftens their afpeQ — it abates their fe^ 
verity — nay, it changes their nature. When a man is 
under diftrefs or calamity of any kind, and confiderg it 
only in itfelf, and independently of his relation to God, 



Trust in God. 201 

it retains its old nature, and taftes with all the bitternefs of 
the original curfe ; but when it is confidered as limited in 
its nature — in its meafure and its continuance by a kind 
Saviour, the believer fuhmits to it with patience, as a part 
of his Creator's will; bears it with patience in his Rcr 
deemer's flrength, and fometimes is enabled to embrace 
it with pleafure, as ferving to carry him to his Father's 
prefence. Is this going too far ? No, my dear brethren ; 
thefe are great realities to which the word of God, and tlie 
experience of his faints, bear united evidence. Many 
here prefent, I doubt not, have been witnefles of this truth 
in the carriage of their relations now with God ; and not 
a few, I truft, will repeat the tellimony to fucceeding ages. 
I conclude all with that animated pafTage of the apoftle 
Paul — 2 Cor. iv. 16, 17. '' Porwhich caufe we faint not; 
*' but though our outward man perilh, yet the inward man 
" is renewed day by day. For our light afflidion, which 
" is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceed- 
" ing and eternal weight of glory." 



Vol. II. C c 



[ 203 ] 



On the purity of the HEART. 

SERMON 27. 



Proverbs xxx. 7, 8, 9. 

Txvo things have I required of thee J denrj me them not before 
I die : remove far from me vanity and lies ; give me neither 
poverty nor riches ; feed vie xvith food convenient for me, 
lest J be full and deny thee, and say, xuho is the Lord? or 
lest I be poor aiid steal, and take the name of my God iri 
vain. — 



My Brethren, 

OUR dependent condition as creatures, and much 
more our dangerous condition as Tinners, expofed 
to daily temptation, renders prayer a duty of the moftab- 
folute neceffity. You mufl: all be fenfible, how frequent 
and preffing the exhortations to it are in the holy icrip- 
tures. And, indeed, there cannot be a better evidence 
of a right temper of mind, than an habitual difpofition to 
the exercife of this duty. 

But as prayer is a neceffary duty, we ought to give the 
greater attention to the manner in which it is performed. 
We ought to aik only for fuch things as are truly fafe and 
ufeful. We ought alfo to offer up our prayers with im- 
portunity, or referve, according to the nature and com- 
parative importance of thofe bleffings we defire to obtain. 



204 Oniie Purity of the Heart. 

All our wants are perfedlly known to God ; he is alfo the 
beft judge of what is fit for us, and therefore, our petitions 
/liould be well weighed, and exprefled in fuch terms, as, 
at the faine time that they intimate our defires, leave 
much to himfelf, as to the meafure and manner of fatis- 
fying them. 

We have an excellent ex?.!Tiple of this pious and pru- 
dent conduct, in the prayer of the prophet Agur, jull read 
in your hearing. All his requefts are fummed up in two 
general heads. Thefe he feems to infifi upon, as abfolute- 
ly neceflV.ry to eSk, with that humble, holy confidence 
which is founded on the divine promife, that if we afk any 
thing agreeable to hi;i will, he heareth ug. He feems alfo 
to afl: them, as what would fully fatisfy him, and be fufTi- 
cient for the comfort of the prefent life, and the happinefs; 
of the life to come. *' Two things," fays he, " have I re- 
*•' quired of thee, deny nie them not before," or, as it 
ought rather to be tranflated, " until I die." 

Thefe two reqiicfts are conceived in the following terms 
t — *' Remove far from me vanity and lies, give me neither 
.*'• poverty nor riches-" The firft, viz- " remove far from 
" me vanity and lies," evidently relates to the temper of 
^is mind, and the Hate of his foul- The fecond, viz^ 
** give me neither poverty nor riches," relates to his out- 
ward condition or circumflances in the prefent life. There 
are two things in the general Uruclure of this comprehen- 
five prayer, that merit you particular attention. Firfl:, 
The order of his requell ; beginning with what is of nioft 
importance, the temper of his mind, and his hope towards 
God; and then adding, as butdeferving the fecond place, 
what related to his prefent accommodation. 

Secondly, The connection of his requefls. The choice 
he makes as to his temporal condition, is in immediate 
and diretl hibl'erviency to his fanclification. This is plain 
from the arguments with which he preffes, or the reafons 
which he afligns for his fecond petition. '■ Give me nei- 
" ther poverty nor riches, Icll I be full and deny thee, 
" and fay, who is the Lord ? or left I be poor and ileal, 
^' and take the name of my God in tain."" 



On the Purity of the Heart, 205 

My brethren, I am perfuaded that this fubjecl can hard- 
ly be, at any time, unfeafonable to a Chriftian affembly, 
as our mifplaced, excefiive, and unreafonable defires are 
the greateit enemies to our progrefs in holinefs, as well as 
to our comfort and peace. Perhaps, however, there are 
fome circumllances that render it pecuHarly proper for 
this auditory. Young perfons are very apt to cherifli vaft 
and boundlefs defires as to outward things; and having 
not yet experienced the deceitfulnefs of the world, are apt 
to entertain exceffive and extravagant hopes. The truth 
is, rich and poor, young and old, may here receive a lef- 
fon of the utmoft moment. 

Let me therefore intreat your attention, while I endea- 
vor to open and improve this paflage of the holy fcrip- 

tures; beginning, at this time, with the firfl requefl; 

" Remove far from me vanity and lies." 

In difcourfmg on which, I will endeavor, 

I. To explain the import of it, or ihew at what It chief- 
ly points, and to what it may be fuppofed to extend. 

II. Apply the fubjedl for your inflruclion and dire£li- 
on. 

I. I am to explain the import of the prophet's prayer, 
or fliew at what it chiefly points, and to what it may be 
fuppofed to extend, in the petition, " Remove far from 
*' me vanity and lies." The word •vanity^ efpecially when 
it is joined, as it is frequently in fcripture, with lyings or 
lies^ is of a very large and comprehenfive fignitication. 
The word in the original, tranflated "vanity^ properly fig- 
m^tz lightness or emptiness j and lies Hgnify false hoody 
in oppofition to truth. 

I imagine we fliall have a clear conception, both of the 
meaning and force of this phrafe, if we make the follow- 
ing remark : God himfelf is the great fountain of life and 
exiftence; the great I AM, as he emphatically flyles him- 
felf to Mofes; the original and the only reality, if I may 
fo fpeak. All other beings have only a dependent and 
precarious exigence ; fo that the creation itfdf, though 
his own work, compared to him, is vanity. " Vanity of 



2o6 On the Purity of the Hmrt, 

" vanities, faith the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is va- 
*' nity." Therefore, in a particular manner, the word is 
often Lifed to denote the folly of all idolatrous worfliip; or 
the giving the refpedt and honor to any thing elfe, which 
is due to God alone. " They have moved me to jealoufy 
'' with that which is not God, they have provoked me to 
" anger with their vanities. Are there any among the 
" vanities of the Gentiles, that can caufe rain ; or can 
" the heavens give fliowers, art thou not he, O Lord our 
" God." 

Sometimes it is ufed to denote i\\Q folly or unprofitable- 
ness of any vice, and particularly of an ill-founded con- 
ceit of ourlelves, as well as of all fraud and diflimulation, 
in word or a(5lion. So that this prayer for our fouls, fhort 
as it appears to be, when confidered in its full extent, will 
be found to contain a great variety of important matter, — 
This 1 Ihall endeavor to give you a brief account of, under 
the following particulars. 

I. We are hereby taught to pray, that we may be pre- 
ferved by divine grace, from all falfe and erroneous prin- 
ciples in religion ; fo as we may neither be deceived by 
them ourfelves, nor any way inftrumental in deceiving 
ethers. This, by what has been faid of the ufe of the 
words in fcripture, appears to be implied in the requefl:, 
and it is of more moment than fome are willing to allow. 
The underftanding being the leading faculty, an error 
there^ fpreads its unhappy influence through the whole 
temper and life. Whereas, on the contrary, light in the 
mind produces fidelity and fecurity in the confcience, and 
tendcrnefs in the converfation. You may obferve, that 
through the whole hiftory oftiie Old Teftament, idolatry, 
or a departure from the knowledge and worfliip of the true 
God, is the leading fm, and the fruitful fource of every 
other viciouS practice. We fometimes, indeed, feem to 
itand afloniihed at the exceffive pronenefs of the ancient 
Jews to this lin. But we need only a little refledion to 
difcover, that an evil heart of unbelief continues the Aime 
at bottom, and daily produces the like dangerous effeds. 
How prone have men been in all ages, to depart from the 
fimplicity of the truth la how many different fliapes 



On the Purity of the Heart. loy 

have they perverted it ! One age, or one country, has 
been polluted by one error, and another by an oppofite, 
impelled by the unliable and irregular fancies of men of 
corrupt minds. In the laft: age, the great theme of the 
carnal reafoner was, to attempt to expofe the fcripture 
doclrine of God's certain knowledge, and precife ordina- 
tion of all events ; and in this, fate and neceflity have 
become the ilrong hold of infidelity, and are embraced, or 
feem to be embraced, by every enemy of true religion 
without exception. Error, fhifting its ground, indeed, is 
but natural ; for lying vanities are innumerable ; but the 
true God is the fame " yeftcrday, to day, and forever." 

At this very time, how abounding and prevalent is in- 
fidelity, calling in quellion the moft important and fun- 
damental principles, both of natural and revealed religion! 
And how properly is this defcribed, by the expreffion in 
the text, vanity and lies; for it always takes its rife from 
the pride and vanity of the human heart ! Sometimes a 
pride of underflanding, which afpires to pafs judgment on 
things far above its reach, and condemn things long be- 
fore they are examined and underftood : Sometimes, alfo, 
from a pride of heart, or felf-fufficiency, that is unable to 
endure the humbling and mortifying view, given us in 
fcripture, of our charafter and ftate. Oh how readily do 
men turn afide from the truth ! With what greedinefs do 
they drink in the flattering but deftructive poifon ! Need 
I point out to you the fatal effeifls of fuch principles taking 
place? It loofens the obligations to obedience, takes off 
the edge of the reproofs of confcience, and thus removing 
reflraints, leaves men, in the emphatical language of the 
holy fcripture, "to walk in the ways of their own hearts, 
" and in the fight of their own eyes." 

But in this requefl, " remove far from me vanity and 
" lies," I would not have you confine your views to the 
mod grofs infidelity and avowed oppofition to God. Pray 
alio, that you may be preferved from error, or mifiake ol 
any kind ; but efpecially fuch as have the greatell influ- 
ence on the fubfiance of religion. 

A clear apprehenlion of the holy nature, and righteous 
governmentof God— the infinite evil of fin — the founda- 



2o8 On the Purity of the Heart. 

tion of our peace in the blood of the atonement — and the 
renewing of our natures by the Holy Gholl, feem to me 
abfolutely necefTary to true and undefiled religion. And 
they are the truths, which particularly ferve to exalt the 
Creator, and lay the creature in the duft. When, there- 
fore, we confider how grateful to corrupt nature every 
thing is, that tends to fofter pride — to create fecurity, and 
fet the mind at eafe, in the indulgence of fiii ; we mull be 
fenfible of how great importance it is, to pray for divine 
direction, and divine prefervation. Nothing is more dan- 
gerous to men than confidence and prefumption — nothing 
•more ufeful in faith and pradice, than humility and felf- 
denial. 

2. This prayer implies, a defire that we may be pre- 
ferved from fetting our affeftions on fuch objefts, as are 
but vain and unfatisfying, and will, in the end, difappoint 
our expectation. I take this to be not only a part, but a 
very important part of tlie prophet's meaning. The 
world is the great fource of temptation; the powerful and 
unhappy influence of which we may daily fee; or rather, 
all of us daily and fenfibly feel. What is it poifefles the 
fancy, mifleads the judgment, inflames the afte61;ions, 
confumes the lime, and ruins the foul, but thefe prelent 
enjoyments, of which the wifefl of men, after a full trial 
of them, hath left us their character inanity of '■canities. 

I am fenfible that I have now entered u|)on a fubje(5l:, 
which is far from being difficult to enlarge upon, and yet 
perhaps, very difficult to treat with propriety, or in fuch 
a manner, as to have the intended effirtl There is no- 
thing more eafy than, in a bold declamatory way, to draw 
pictures of the vanity of human life. It hath been done 
by thoufands, when, after all their broken fchemes, and 
difappointed views, they have jufl fuffi.Ted fliipwreck up- 
on the coaft: of the enchanted land of hope. But from fuch 
men we may expect to hear the language of dcfpair, ra- 
ther than of experience ; and as it is too late for the in- 
flru£lion of the fufferers, fo it very rarely has any efi';r6l 
in warning others to avoid the danger. What I would, 
therefore, willingly attempt, is, to confider this matter in 
a fober fcriptural light ; if fo be that it may pleafe God 



On the Purity of the Heart* 209 

to carry convldion to our hearts, and make it truly ufe- 
ful, both to fpeaker and hearers. 

Let me, therefore, my brethren, point out to you, pre- 
cifely, wherein the vanity of the world lieth. The world, 
in itfelf, is the workmaniliip of God, and every thing that 
is done in it, is by the ordination, or permifTion of God. 
As fuch, it is good, and may be ufed in fubferviency to 
his honor, and our own peace. But through the corrup- 
tion of our nature, the creature becomes the rival and 
competitor of the Creator for our hearts.— -When we place 
our lupreme happinefs upon it, inftead of making it a 
mean of leading us to God, then its inherent vanity im- 
mediately appears. — When men allow themfelves in the 
indulgence of vicious pleafures, how juflly may they be 
called '■canity and lies? They are fmiling and inviting to 
appearance, but how dreadful and dellru6tive in their ef- 
fe^is ? " W^horedom and wine, and new v/ine take away 
" the heart." Thofe who refufe to be confined by the 
laws of piety and fobriety, 'uainly think they are walking 
at liberty, Vv'hen they are bringing themfelves into fub- 
jedlion to the feverefi: and moil inflexible of all maflers. 
Read the jull: and flriking defcription, by Solomon, of the 
effedls of whoredom ; and reflect on the innumerable ca- 
lamities brought, in every age, on perfons and families 
by unbridled luil. See alfo the eftedls of intemperance 
and excefs — " Wine is a mocker, flrong drink is raging, 
" and whofoever is deceived thereby is not wife." And 
again : " the drunkard and glutton fliall come to poverty. 
" Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth 
" its colour in the cup, when it moveth itfelf aright ; at 
" laft, it biteth like a ferpent, and flingeth like an adder." 

Think on the unhappy confequences, of diflionefly and 
fraud. '•'• Bread of deceit is fweet to a nian, but after- 
*' wards his mouth fiiall be filled with gravel." — You may 
alfo fee, in innumerable paifages of fcripture, that oppref- 
iion of others, as it is a fin of the deepelt dye, fo it is often 
remarkably overtaken, and punifned in the courfe of Pro- 
vidence, even in the prefent life. " Envy thou not the 
*' oppreffor, and choole none of his waysj for the froward 

Vol. II. Dd 



2 lo On the Purity of the Heart. 

" is abomination to the Lord, but his fecret is with the 
" righteous. The curfe of the Lord is in the houfe of the 
*■'■ wicked, but he bleffeth the habitation of the juft." 

But there is fomething more in this requed, than being 
preferved from practices direiSlly vicious ; for the fetting 
of our hearts upon worldly things, and making them our 
chief portion and delight, is certainly feeking after vanity 
and lies. They are far from affording that happinefs and 
peace, v/hich we demand of them, and expeft from them. 
*' A little that a righteous man hath, is better than the 
*' riches of many wicked." Can there be any thing more 
comfortable to experience, than that ftrong expreffion — 
" Thou prepareft a table for me in the prefence of m.ine 
" enemies, thou anointeft my head with oil, my cup run- 
" neth over." You may alfo find in the word of God, 
many warnings of the folly of thofe, who travel in the 
path of ambition, and put their trull in man. " Surely 
" men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree 
" are a lie. Put riot your truft in princes, nor in the fon 
" of man, in whom there is no help. Plappy is he that 
*' hath the God of Jacob for his help, v/hol'e hope is in the 
*' Lord his God." But the mofl comprehenfive remark 
of all upon tliis fubjeft is, that human life itfelf is fo ex- 
ceedingly precarious, that it mufi write ' vanity and emj>- 
* tinefs' on tvQ,YY thing, the poilcllion and ufe of which is 
confined to tlie prefent Hate. " Behold thou haft made 
" my days as an hand-breadth." What a ftriking picture 
does our Lord draw of the vanity of human happinefs, 
in that parable of the ground of tlie rich man, which 
brought forth plentifully r " And he thought within him- 
*' felf, iliying, what fliall I do, becaufe 1 have no room 
*' where to beflow my fruits?" — And while this man is 
feduloufly employed in making proviiion for a long and 
happy life, "God faid unto him, thoufool, this night iliall 
*' thy foul be required of thee, then Vr'hofe lliall thofe things 
" be vvhich thou haft provided ?" 

The whole of the preceding reprefentation may be 
fummed up in this excellent fentencc of the wife man : 
" The wicked worketh a deceitlul work ; but to him thai 
*' fovveth righteoufly fluil be a fure reward.'' 



On the Purity of the Heart. 2ii- 

Now, my brethren, need I add, how prone we are to 
be led aftray, in a greater or lefs degree, by fuch " vanity 
*' and lies?" — I do not infill upon the many victims, 
which, in every age, have been feen to {'all by the dellruc- 
tive hand of vice. How many have been ruined by luft, 
liain by intemperance, or beggared by diflionelly ! But I 
intreat you particularly to obferve, that when we fet our 
affections immoderately upon any earthly objed: or enioy- 
ment, or when they are not truly fanftified, how m"uch 
they didippoint our expectation in poffeffion, and what 
fcenes of didrefs we prepare for ourfelves by their re- 
moval. 

3. This requeft, "remove far from me vanity and lies," 
implies, that God would gracioufly preferve us from de- 
ceiving ourfelves, and thinking our charadler better, and 
our Hate fafer than it really is. When we take a view of 
the Hate of the world, and the condu6l of thofe who have 
not yet call off all belief of eternity and a jwdgment to 
come, it is impoffible to account for their fecurity, but by 
a great degree of lelf deceit. We may fay of them with 
fne prophet Ifaiah, "Hefeedeth of aflies; a deceived heart 
*' hath turned him afide, that he cannot deliver his foul, 
" nor fay. Is there not a lie in m,y right hand ?" And from 
the reprefentatlon given by our Saviour, it is plain, that 
many fliall continue in their millake, and only be unde- 
ceived at the la[l day. '' Not every one that faith unto me» 
'■'- Lord, Lord, fliall enter into the kingdom of heaven.'* 
How awful a refleftion this ! How dreadful a difappoint- 
ment to difcover our mifery, only when there is no more 
hope of efcaping it ! Is there not a poiTibility of this being 
the cafe wnth many of you, my brethren; and do you not 
tremble at the thought ? I would not wifli any, in gene- 
ral, to give way to a fpirit of bondage, or flavifh fear ; but 
the bed of the children of God have often difcovered this 
holy jealoufy of themfelves. "Who can underfiand his 
" errors? Cleanfe thou me from fecret faults. Keep back 
" tl)y fervant alio from prefumptuous fins ; let them not 
" have dominion over me, then fliall I be upright, and I 
*' fliall be innocent from the great tranfgreflion." And 
again \ " Search me, O God, and know my heart ; try 



2ia On the Purity of the Heart. 

" me, and know my thoughts; and fee if there be any 
** wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlailing." 
This leads me naturally to add upon this fubjed, that 
we ought to pray for prefervation from felf-deceit, as to 
particular branches of our character and condudt, as well 
as our general ilate. — Many, even upon the whole good 
men, are occafionally and infenfibly brought, for a feafon, 
under the dire^lion of ftnful jraflions. They may be in- 
dulging themfelves without fufpicion, in what is, notwlth- 
flanding really provoking to God, injurious or offenfive to 
others, and, in the ifl'ue, hurtful to their own peace. They 
may be making an enjoyment a talent, a relation an idol, 
when they think they are keeping within tlie bounds of 
duty. They may be indulging a finful refentment, when 
they think they are promoting the glory of God. Alany 
an excufe for negledling conmianded duty, from prudence 
or difficulty, fatisfies ourfclves, which will not Hand in the 
day of trial. What reafon for the prophet's prayer in the 
fenfe juft now afCgned, *' Remove far from me vanity and 
" lies." 

4. In the next place, this requefl: implies, a defire to 
be preferved from pride and felf-conceit, upon any fubjefl. 
There is not any thing that affords a flronger evidence of 
our being unacquainted with ourfelves, and our own flate, 
than that propenfity to pride and vanity, which is fo com- 
mon to us all. It is thought by many, that pride was the 
iin of the angels, that call them down to hell. It is plain, 
that pride was the main ingredient in the firll fin of man. 
And perhaps it is a juft and proper defcription of all fin as 
fuch, that it is a dethroning of God, and letting up ielf to 
be loved, honored and ferved in his room. This fin is 
by no means confined to the worft of men, in whom it 
hath an abfolute dominion ; but retains and difcovers an 
unhappy influence in the very be ft. — Every thing may be 
the fuel of pride : our perfons, our performances, our re- 
lations, our poircffions ; nay, fo pliable, and at the fame 
time fo prepofterous is thisdifpofition, that men are found 
fometimes proud of their very vices and defe61s. But 
how ill do i:)ride and vanity fuit fuch poor mortals as we 
;ire, who feem born but to die ? — \Vho after paffing 



On the Purity of the Heart. 213 

through a longer or Ihorter feries of weaknefTes, difap- 
pointments and troubles, mufl:, at lad, be laid in the filent 
grave, to moulder in the dud. We are dependant crea- 
tures, who have nothing, and can have nothing but what 
we receive from the unmerited favor of God. We are 
unvvife and ignorant creatures, who know nothing to the 
bottom, and therefore, are liable to continual millakes in 
our conduct. Tliofe among us, who have the greated 
comprehenlion of mind, and know mod, as it ferves to 
ihew the comparative ignorance of the bulk of mankind, 
fo it ferves to convince themfelves how little they do 
know, and how little they can know after all, compared 
with what is to them unfearchable. 

But above all, we are finful creatures, who have render- 
ed ourfelves, by our guilt, the jud objefts of divine difplea- 
fure. Is there any who dares to plead exemption from 
this charadter ? And do pride and vanity become thofe, 
to whom they manifedly belong ? Can any thing be more 
foolidi, than indulging fuch difpofitions? There is a very 
judexpreffion of one of the apocryphal writers: " Pride 
" was not made for man, nor a high look for him that is 
" born of a woman." Indeed they are fo evidently un- 
fuitable to our date and circumdances, that one would 
think, we fliould need no higher principle than our own 
reafon and obfervation to keep us free from them. We 
do, however, need the mod earned and aflkluous addreff- 
es to the throne of grace, to have all pride and vanity re- 
moved from us. — How hateful is pride to God ! We are 
told, " he refideth the proud." On the contrary, no dif- 
pofition is more amiable in his fight, than humility. " He 
" giveth grace to the humble." And again : " To this 
*' man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a con- 
" trite fpirit, and trembleth at my word. For thus faith 
" the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whofe 
" name is holy ; I dwell in the high and holy place, with 
" him alfo, that is of a contrite and humble fpirit ; to re- 
*' vive the fpirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of 
" the contrite ones." 

It mud, therefore, be the duty, and intered of every 
good man, not only to reult pride and vanity, but to 



214 On the Purity of the Heart. 

make it a part of his daily fupplication to God, that hs 
may eiTedually be delivered trom both. 

5. Ill the lall: place : Thisrequeft implies adefiretobe 
delivered from fraud and difliniulatioa of every kind. It 
is one of the glorious attributes of God, that he is a God 
of truth, who will not, and who cannot lie. He alfo re- 
quires of all hie fervants, and is delighted with truth in 
the inward parts. But there feems to be fome difficulty 
in this part of the fubje6l, more than in the others. Some 
will fay, why pray to be delivered froni fraud and diflimu- 
lation ? This might be an exhortation to the finner, but 
cannot be the prayer of the penitent. If they are fincere 
in their prayer, it feems impoffible there can be any dan- 
ger of fraud. Fraud implies deliberation and dcfif^n ; and 
though it may be concealed from others upon whom it is 
exercifed, it can never be concealed from the perfon in 
TS/'hom it dv/ells, and by whom it is contrived. 7'his is 
the very language of fome reafoners, who infer from it» 
that though there are many other fins to which a man may 
be liable without knowing it, yet this can never be the 
cafe with diirimulation. 

But, my brethren, if we confider how apt men are, 
upon a fudden temptation of fear or fliame, or the prof- 
pedt of fome advantage to themfelves, to depart from llrift 
veracity, and even tojudify to their own minds, fome 
kinds and degrees of deceptions, we fliall fee the abfolute 
necefTity of making this a ])art of our prayer to God. Nay, 
perhaps I may go further ami fay, that we are as ready to 
deceive ourfelves in this point as in any other. 

Upon this im])ortant fubjeCl, there is one confideration 
to which I earneitly intreat your attention. 'J'horough fm- 
cerity, fimpiicity and truth, upon every fubjedt, have, iu 
the world, lb much the appearance of weaknefs ; and on 
the contrary, being able to manage and over-reach others, 
has lb much the appearance of fuperior wifdom, that men 
are very liable to temptation from this quarter. It is to 
he lamented that our language itfelf, if I may fo fpeak, 
has received a criminal taint ; for in common difcourfe 
the exprellion, a plain ivcll-meaiiin:^ man is alwavs ap- 
preheuded to imply, together with fmcerity, fome degree 



Oh the Purity of the Heart. 215 

of weaknefs ; although, indeed, it is a chara^ler of all 
others the mofl noble. In recommendation of this cha- 
racier let me obferve, that in this, as in all the particulars 
mentioned above, " the wicked worketh a deceitful work ; 
*' but he that walketh uprightly walketh furely." Sui)po- 
fing' a man to have the prudence and difcretion not to 
fpeak without necefTity, I affirm there is no end which 
a good man ought to aim at, which may not be more cer- 
tainly, fafely, and fpeedily obtained by the ftriftell and 
moft inviolable fmcerity, than by any afts of diffimulation 
whatever. 

But after all, what fignify any ends of prefent conveni- 
ency, which diffimulation may pretend to anfwer, com- 
pared to the favor of God, which is forfeited by it ? Hear 
what the Pfalmifl: fays. "• Who fhall abide in thy tabcr- 
" nacle, who fliall dviell in thy holy hill ? He that walketh 
" uprightly and worketh righteoufnefs, and fpeaketh the 
*' truth in his heart." — i.et us, therefore, add this to the 
other views of the prophet's comprehenfive prayer — "Re- 
*' move far from me vanity and lies.'* 

For the improvement of this part of the fubjed:, ob- 
ferve, 

I. You may learn from it how to attain, not only a 
juflnefs and propriety, but a readinefs and fulnefs in the 
duty of prayer. 

Nothing is a greater hinderance, either to the fervency 
of our affedVions, or the force of our expreffions in prayer, 
than when the objeft of our defires is confufed and gene- 
ral. But when we perceive clearly what it is that is need- 
ful to us, and how much we do need it, this gives us, in- 
deed, the jpirit of fupplication. Perhaps it is more ne- 
ceifary to attend to this circumilance, in what we afk for 
our fouls than for our bodies. When we want any thing 
that relates to prefent conveniency, it is clearly underfiood, 
becaufe it is fenfibly felt. — There is no difficulty in crying 
for deliverance from poverty, ficknefs, reproach, or any 
other earthly fuffering; nay, the difficulty here is not in 
exciting our defires, but in moderating them: not in pro- 
ducing fervor, but in promoting fubmiffion : But in what 
relates to our fouls, becaufe many or moil temptations are 



Ii6 On the Purity of the Heart, 

agreeable to the flefh, we forefee danger lefs perfeclly, and 
even feel it lefs fenfibl)-; therefore, a clofe and deliberate 
attention to our fitiiation and trials, as opened in the pre- 
ceding difcourfe, is of the utnioft moment, " both to carry 
" us to the throne of grace, and to dire£l our fplrit when 
" we are there." 

2. What hath been faid will ferve to excite us to ha- 
bitual watchfulnefs, and to direft our daily converfatiort* 
The fame things that are the fubjefts of prayer, are alfo 
the objedls of diligence. — Prayer and diligence are joined 
by our Saviour, and ought never to be feparated by his 
people. — Prayer without v/atchfulnefs is not fincere, and 
watchfulnefs without prayer will not be fuccefsful. The 
fame views of fin and duty — of the ilrength and frequency 
of temptation, and the weaknefs of the tempted, lead 
equally to both. Let me befeech you then, to walk cir- 
cunifpeclly, not as fools, but as v/ife. JMaintain an ha- 
bitual diffidence of yourieives — Attend to the various dan- 
gers to which you are expofed. Watchfulnefs of itfelf 
will fave you from many temptations, and will give you 
an inward warrant, and humble confidence, to afic of God 
fupport under, and deliverance from fuch as it is impofli- 
ble to avoid. 

3. In the lafl place, fince every thing comprehended in 
the petition in the text, is viewed in the light of falfehood 
and deceit, fuffer me, in the molt earnefl manner, to re- 
commend to my hearers, and particularly to all the young- 
perfons under my care, " an invariable adherence to 
*' truth, and the mofi: undlfguifed fimplicity and fmcerity 
*■' in the whole of their converfation and carriage." I do 
not know where to begin or end in fpeaking of the excel- 
lenc}' and beauty of lincerity, or the balencfs of falfehood. 
Sincerity is amiable, honorable and profitable. It is the 
molt fliining part of a commendable character, and the 
moll winning apology for any mifcarriage or unadviled 
udion. There is fcarcely any adion in itfelf lb bad, as 
what is implied in the hardened front of him who covers 
the truth with a lie : Bcfides, it is always a fign of long 
pradice in wickednels. Any man may be feduced or 
iVirprizsd into a fault, but none but the habitual villain 



On the Purity of the Heart. 217 

can deny it with fteady calmnefs and obftinacy. In this 
refpeft, we, unhappily find fome who are young offenders, 
but old fmners. 

It is not in religion only, but even among worldly 
men, that lying is counted the utmoft pitch of bafenefs ; 
and to be called a liar the most insupportable reproach. 
No wonder, indeed, for it is the very effence of cowardice 
to dare to do a thing which you have not courage to avow. 
The very worfl; of fmners are fenfible of it theinfelves, for 
they deeply refent the imputation of it ; and, if I do not 
midake, have never yet arrived at the abfurdity of defend- 
ing it. There is fcarcely any other crime, but fome are 
profligate enough to boaft of it ; but I do not remember 
ever to have heard of any who made his boaft, that he ivas 
a liar. To crown all, lying is the moft wretched folly. 
Juftly does Solomon fay : " A lying tongue is but for a 
*' moment." It is eafily difcovered. Truth is a firm 
confiftent thing, every part of which agrees with, and 
llrongly fupports another. But lies are not only repug- 
nant to truth, but repugnant to each other ; and common- 
ly the means, like a treacherous thief, of the detection of 
the whole. Let me, therefore, once more recommend to 
every one of you, the noble charafter of fincerity. — En- 
deavor to eftablilh your credit in this refpedl fo entirely, 
that every word you fpeak may be beyond the imputation 
of deceit; fo that enemies may, themfelves, be fenfible, 
that though you Ihould abufe them, you will never de- 
ceive them. 



Vol. II. E e 



[ 219 ] 



SEEKING A COMPETENCY in the WISDOM of 
PROVIDENCE. 



SERMON 28. 



Proveres XXX. 8. 



Give ine neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food conve* 
nient for me. 

I PROCEED now to confider the fecond branch of the 
prophet's prayer, which regards his outward condition 
or circum (lances, in the prefent world. On this fubjeft 
he exprefles himfelf thus : " Give me neither poverty nor 
*' riches." 

Do not think, my brethren, that this is a fubje£t of lit- 
tle importance ; or that it is unconnefted with the fpiritu- 
al life. On the contrary, there are few things of more 
moment, than to have our defirts of temporal bleffings 
limited and direded in a proper manner. Not only is 
worldly mindednefs the everlafting ruin of thofe who are 
entirely under its dominion ; but even good men are lia- 
ble to many temptations from the fame quarter. They 
may hurt their own peace, give offence to others, or lef- 
fen their ufefulnefs by a fmful excefs in their attachment 
to the world, or by a criminal negligence in not giving a 
prudent and proper attention to it. Be not furprifed that 



220 Seeking a Competency in 

I have mentioned the lafl of thefe as well as the firfl, for 
the prophet prays for deliverance from the temptation 
arifmgfroni both extremes. Idlenefs and floth are as con- 
trary to true religion, as either avarice or ambition ; and 
the habit when once taken, is perhaps more difficult to 
remove. 

In order to treat this fubjeft with the greater diflinft- 
nefs, I (hall firft flievv you what we may learn in general 
from this prayer: fecondly, explj^in the particular object 
of the prophet's defire; and in the lall place, make ap- 
plications of what may be faid by recommending it to 
your choice. 

I. In the firft place, then, we may learn in general from 
this requeft, that it is lawful to pray for temporal bleflings. 
It is not unworthy of a Chriftian, whofe converfation is 
in heaven, to aflv of God, what is neceflary to his fupport 
and prefervation in the prefent life. If I were to men- 
tion all the examples of this in fcripture, 1 fliould tran- 
fcribeagreat part of the Bible. Though inferior in their 
nature and value to fpiritual bleflings, they are neccHary 
in their place; and it is upon this footing they are exprefl- 
ly put by our Saviour. " Your heavenly Father knoweth 
*' that ye have need of all thefe things." They are need- 
ful to the prolonging of our natural life till we finifh our 
work, and are fitted for our reward. Therelbre, though 
miracles are a kind of fufpenfion of the laws of nature, and 
the ordinary courfe of providence, yet we find God fome- 
times working a miracle to fupply the wants of his ler- 
vants. It had been no more difficult for God to have kept 
Elijah from hungering, than to have made the ravens fetch 
him provifion ; or to have made, as in another cafe, a 
barrel of meal, or a cruife of oil, the lafting and fufficient 
lupport of a whole family. But he choofes rather to fup- 
ply the wants of his people, th:in caufe them to ceafe, that 
he may keep their dependance conlhmtly in their view, 
and that a fenfe of their ncceffities may oblige them to have 
continual recourfe to him for relief. 

Again, we may here learn, that God is the real and 
proper giver of every temporal, as well as of every I'piri- 



the Wisdom of Promdence. 221 

tual bleffing — A fentiment this, of the utmofl confequence, 
to be engraven upon the heart. We have here an inilance 
out of many, in which truths known and confelTed by all, 
have notwithilanding little hold upon the mind. How 
few are truly fenfible of their continual obligations to the 
God of life ? Confider, I befeech you, that whatever yoa 
poffefs of any kind, it the gift of God. He holdeth your 
foul in life, and guards you by his providence in your go- 
ing out and in your coming in. He covereth your table 
and filleth your cup. Have you riches? It is by the bleff- 
ing of the God of heaven — " The bleffing of the Lord," 
faith Solomon, " it maketh rich. But thou flialt remem- 
" ber the Lord thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power 
*' to get wealth." Have you credit and reputation ? It is 
God that hideth you from the flrife of tongues. " Thou 
*' flialt be hid from the fcourge of the tongue, neither fhalt 
" thou be afraid of deflruftion when it cometh." Have 
you friends ? It is he that giveth you favor in their fight. 
Have you talents and parts ? It is the inspiration of the 
Almighty that giveth thee underftanding. 

II. Let us now explain the particular tenor of this pe- 
tition, and point out the objeit of the prophet'^ defire : 
" Give me neither poverty nor riches." It is plain we 
are not to fuppofe the prophet, in any degree, refufing 
fubmiflion to the will of God, by his thus making choice of 
a particular ilate of life — Doubtlefs he refolved to be at 
God's difpofal, and believed that he was able to fanftify to 
him a ftate of the higheft profperity, or of the deepell ad- 
verfity. It was no diftruft of God, but felf-denial and 
diffidence of his own ffrength, that fuggefled this prayer. 
Therefore, in adjufting his defires and expectations, he 
pitches upon that Hate that appeared to him liable to the 
few'eft fnares. Thus our bleffed Saviour, though it is his 
will that we fliould fear no enemy when going out ia 
divine ftrength, yet teaches us to pray — " Lead us not 
*' into temptation." 

Poverty and riches are here mentioned as the two ex- 
tremes; in neither of which we fliould v/ifli to be placed, 
but in a fafer middle between the two ; fo as, if it pleafe 



222 Seeking a Competency in 

God, we may neither be urged by preffing neceffiiy nor 
over-loaded with fach abundance as we may b^; in danger 
of abufing. 

But perhaps fome will fay, where is the middle ? How 
fhall we be able to determine what we ought to defire, 
fince there is fo imnenle a didance, and fo many inter- 
mediate deg;rees between the extremity of want, and the 
countlefs treafures of the wealthy ? 

But, my brethren, if we do not hearken to the illufive 
calls of ambition, avarice and lull, it is by no means diffi- 
cult to apprehend the meaning of the prophet, and apply 
it to perfons of every rank. Regard, no doubt, is to be 
had to the various flations in which God hath thought fit 
to place us. This difference of flation requires fupplies 
of the conveniencies of life, fuited to the part we are 
bound to a£l. That manner of life which would be decent 
and liberal in one flation, would be reckoned mean and 
fordid in another. Therefore, what would be plenty and 
fulnefs to perfons in inferior flations, would be extreme 
poverty to perfons placed, and called to adl, in higher and 
more exalted fpheres. But after we have taken in the 
confidcration of every difference that may happen on this 
fcore, there is fomething in the prayer that belongs in 
common to persons of all stations namely, that we fiiould 
be model! in our defires after temporal good things, and 
take care not to afic only to gratify a fenfual inclination, 
but for what is really neceffary or ufeful to us. The lafl 
is reafonable and allowable, the other is unreafonable and 
juflly condemned by the apoftle James. " Ye aflv and 
" receive not, becaufe ye afl-:amifs, that ye may coiifume 
*■'■ it upon your lufls." 

But the firft part of this requeR is explained by the laR, 
contained in the words, '' feed me with food convenient 
*' for me." That we may be able to enter into the tiue 
fpirit of this petition, I lliall juft compare it with fome 
other fcriptural forms of prayer on the lame fubjeft, and 
then endeavor to point out what I take to be the chief in- 
ilrudlon intended to be conveyed to us by it. 

As to the fcripture forms of prayer for temporal provi- 
fion, the precedence is undoubtedly due to that excellent 



the IVisJom of Proiiidencc. 223 

form left us by our Saviour, in which vye find this petition, 
" Give us this day our daily bre.-id." You may next at- 
tend to the prayer put up by Jacob in ancient times. — 
" And Jacob vowed avow, fayinp-, if God will be with 
" me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will 
" give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, fo that I 
" come again to my father's houfe in peace, then fhall the 
" Lord be my God." It is m.ore than probable that the 
apodls Paul alludes to Jacob's ex prefiion, in his excellent 
advice to all Chriftians. " But godlinefs with content- 
*' ment is great gain; for we brought nothing into this 
" world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out ; antl 
" having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. 
" But they that will be rich, fall into temptation and a 
*' fnare, and into many foolifli and hurtful lulls, which 
" drown men in deftrudlion and perdition — for the love 
" of money is the root of all evil, which while fome covet- 
" ed after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced 
*'• themfelves through with many forrows." 

It is obvious to remark, that all thefe prayers and this 
apoftolic counfel run in the fame ftrain. Thev all begin 
and are founded upon a regard to God, and a mind rioht- 
ly difi:>ofed towards him : " If the Lord," fays Jacob, 
" will be with me" — " Remove," fays Agur in my text, 
" far from me vanity and lies." Our Saviour begins his 
prayer with petitions for the glory of God, with which the 
happinefs of our fouls is infeparably connected; and the 
apoRle m?i\mdXns godliness as the great fource of content- 
ment With our portion in this life. 

We may further obferve, that there is the fame method 
obferved in all thefe prayers. The exprelfions vary a lit. 
tie, but the requeO: is the fame. Jacob wifhes for the di. 
vine protedllon, with food to eat, and raiment to put on. 
Agur for food convenient for him ; and in the Lord's 
prayer we ad-: for our daily bread. There is no fpccify- 
ing of any particulars — no mention made of this or the 
other quantity of provifion. Their defires are fummed 
up in this general requefl, and the quantity and quality 
wholly referred to the good pleafure of God. It is certain 
that God hath fometimes granted to hrs mvn people, riches 



224 Seeking a Compeicncy in 

in great abundance; and, at the fame time, has given his 
blefling to enjoy them, and honored the pofTeirors, by ena- 
bHng them to glorify him in the ufe and application of 
them. But the dire6l defire of riches, I do not think, 
hath any warrant from precept or example in his word. 
And when they are bellowed as a blefhng, and not a curfe, 
it is commonly on thofe who, by their fuperior concern 
about the better part, fhew that they will put them to their 
proper ufe, as in the cafe of Solomon, recorded in the firfl 
book of Kings, *' In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solo- 
" mon in a dream by night ; and God faid, afk what I 
" fliall give thee. And he faid, give thy fervant an un- 
" derrtanding heart. And the fpeech pleafed the Lord, 
*' that Solomon had aflced this thing. And God faid, be- 
" caufe thou haft afked this thing, and haft not allied for 
" thyfelf long life, neither haft afked riches for thyfelf, 
*' nor haft ?Sktd the life of thine enemies, but haft aflced 
*' for thyfelf underftanding, to difcern judgment: Behold 
" I have done according to thy words ; lo, I have given 
" thee a wife and an underftanding heart, fo that there 
" was none like thee before thee, neither after thee fhall 
" any arife like unto thee. And I have alfo given thee 
" that which thou haft not afl^ed, both riches and ho- 
" nor." 

Now this I take to be the main inftruclion intended to 
be given us withrefpedt to our prayers for temporal mer- 
cies ; that we Ihould not pretend to fet bounds to God, 
but leave the meafure of them to his determination. 

For farther explaining this truth; and, at the fame time 
recommending it to your regard, be pleafed to attend to 
the following obfervations. 

I. Confiderthat God, infinitely wife, as well as graci- 
ous, is certainly the beft judge of what is moft fit and con- 
venient for us. We know fo little of ourfelves, that we 
really know not how we fliould behave, if placed in par- 
ticular circumftances, until we are tried. The world 
has a£lually feen many examples of thofe, who were 
loud in their accufations of others, behaving worfe when 
placed in the fame ftations. And, indeed, I fhould na- 
turally expeQ, that an impatient, envious, difobedient 



the JVisdom of Providence. 225 

fubje£t would, if raifecl to power, be a cruel, infolent, un- 
juil opprefTor; that a petulant, peevifli, obftinate fervant 
vvouid make a capricious, fevere, unreafonable mailer. 

If we were to carve out our own lot, and to have all our 
own defires gratified, there is great reafon to prefume, we 
would throw ourfelves into the moft diiiigreeable circum- 
llances with regard to our fouls, and probably confult but 
ill for our peace and comfort in this world. 

Let me put a few quedions to every one that fecretly 
murmurs at his flate. Are you lure, that if yoci were ad- 
vanced to a place of power and trull, you would be able 
to carry with prudence, refolution and integrity ? Are you 
fare, that if you were fupplied with riches in great abun- 
dance, you would not allow yourfelves to wallow in plea- 
fure, or to fwell in pride ? Are you fure, that if you were 
raifed to high rank, furrounded by flatterers, and worfhip- 
ped by fervants, you would, in that (landing, behave with 
humility and coiidefcenfion ; or that preffed on all hands 
by bufinefs, company, or amufements, you would Hill 
religioufly fave your time for converfe w^ith God ? 

A life of piety in an exalted llation is a continual con- 
flict with the ftrongeft oppofition. What fays experience 
upon this fubje6l ? Solomon did not wholly, and to the 
end, refifl: the temptation of riches and dominion. In the 
whole compafs of hiftory, facred and profane, I do not re- 
member any example of a man's behaving better in point 
of morals, in a profperous, than an afflicted (late, except- 
ing one that hath this appearance, viz. Cicero, the Ro- 
man orator. His condudt in profperity was full of digni- 
ty, and feemed wholly dire6led to the public good ; where- 
as in adverfity, it was to the lall degree mean and abje6l 
— But probably the reafon of this v/as, that pride, or ra- 
ther vanity, was his ruling pafiion, and the great motive 
to his illuilrious aitions ; and when he fell into adverfity, 
this dlfpofition had no fcope for its exercife. 

Chridians, the Lord knoweth our frame, and is well ac- 
quainted with what we are able to bear, and confequently 
what ilatc of life will be upon the whole moll convenient 
for us. It is, therefore, our interefl:, as well as duty, to 
refer ourfelves entirely to him, and leave him to choofe 

Vol. IL Ff 



2 26 Seeking a Competency in 

for us. This is not only the do6lrine of fcripture, but fo 
agreeable to reafon and good fenfe, that it has been ac- 
knowledged by feveral of the Heathen Philofophers, who 
have exprefled themfelves in terms perfectly fimilar to 
thofeof the infpired writings. The prayer wliich Socrates 
taught his pupil Alcibiades, is very remarkable ; that he 
fliould befeech the Supreme God to give him what was 
good for him, though he fliould not afic it ; and to with- 
hold from him whatever would be hurtful, though he 
fhoukl be fo foolifli as to pray for it. 

2. As God is certainly tlie beR judge of what is good 
for us, fo refignation to him is a moR acceptable exprelTion 
both of our worfliip and obedience. Single duties are 
particular ads ; refignation is the very habit of obedience. 
The wifdom and goodnefs of God are acknowledged in 
the moft authentic manner, when his holy and fovereign 
Providence is humbly fubmitted to, and cordially appro- 
ved. Every impatient complaint is an impeachment of 
Providence; every irregular defire is an aft of rebellion 
againd God. Therefore a fubmiffive temper mull be 
highly pleaung to God, and is the way to glorify him in 
the moil; unexceptionable manner. The rather indeed, 
as it is impoRibie to attain this temper, but by fincerely 
laying hold of the covenant of peace, which is ordered in 
all things and fure. This teaches us the grounds of fub- 
miflion. Tliis procures for us the grace of fubmiflion. 
This Rains the pride of all human glory. This changes 
the nature of our poRefRons to us, and us to them. This 
fpiritualizes a worldly mind, and makes us know, in our 
own experience, that all die paths of the Lord to his own 
})eople, are mercy and peace. 

3. Such a temper of mind will greatly contribute to 
our own inward peace. It will be an efie(P:ual preferva- 
tive from all unrighteous courfcs, and unlawful, or even 
diOionorable means of increafing our worldly fubRance, 
and confequenriv fave us from the troubles or dangers to 
which men expofj themfelves by Rich praflices. It will 
preferve us froui perplexing anxiety, and many uneafy 
fears for futurity. It will bring us the near and lure way 
lo the grealeR of all earthly blcRings — a contented mind. 



the Wisdom of Promdence, 227 

Such will be the fweet and delightful efFeds of depend- 
ing upon God, and leaving it to him to furnifh our fup- 
plies as he fees moft convenient for us. Whoever can 
pray with the prophet — " give me neither poverty nor 
" riches, feed me with food convenient for me" — may 
be fully affured, that his defire fhall be gratified, as it is 
perfectly agreeable to the will of God, 

I conclude with reading to you our Saviour's exhortati- 
on on this fubjea — " Therefore, I fay unto you, take no 
" thought for your life, what ye fliall eat, or what ye fhall 
*' drink; nor yet for your body, what ye fhall put on. Is 
" not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 
" Behold the fowls of the air ; for they fow not, neither 
*' do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly 
*' Father feedeth them. Are not ye much better than 
" they ? But feek ye firfl: the kingdom of God, and his 
" righteoufnefs ; and all thefe things Ihall be added unto 
*' vou." 



[ 229 ] 



The DANGER of PROSPERITY, 

SERMON 29, 



Proverbs xxx. 9. 

J^est Ihefulland denij thee^ and sarj^ who is the Lord? Or^ 
lest I be poor and ateal) and take the name of my God ia 

vain, — • 



PROCEED now to confider the arguments by which 
the prophet enlorces his wife and well conceived pray- 
er. Thel'e, in connexion with the two branches of the 
pra3'er, ftand thus: " Give me not riches, lell 1 be full 
" and deny i.hee, and fay, who is the Lord ? And give 
*' me not poverty, left I be poor, and Ileal, and take the 
"name ot my God in vain." If Agur's prayer is con- 
ceived in the nioft modefl and humble tern^.s, the reafons, 
wiih which lie fupports it, are every v.'ay becoming a truly 
wife and good man. You fee in them a prevailing con- 
cern for the honor and glory of God, and his own prefer- 
vation in the paths of piety and virtue. You fee in them 
a humble fenfe of his own weaknels, and the danger of 
temptation ; he, therefore, defnes to be placed in fuch a 
Hate of life, as will expcfe him to the fewell trials. Ari 
excellent difpof.tion this, and highly worthy of our imita- 
tion. How happy would it be for us all, if a defire to 
pleafe Gcd and preferve cur integrity, lay always neareit 



230 The Danger of Prosperity. 

our hearls, and had aconRant and commanding influence 
on every Hep we took in our journey through life. 

Neither riches nor poverty are bad in themfelves. Nei- 
ther of them is any recoinmendation, or hindcrance to 
the favor of God, who is no refpeder of perfons — there 
are good and bad in all ranks. Men may be rich and yet 
pious, or poor, yet ftridtly juft and honeft. It is, I con- 
Mz, often done, yet it is highly criminal to look upon all 
that are rich in this world as profane; and it would be 
equally fo to look upon all that are poor as deflitute of in- 
tegrity. Yet if is uiideniable, that, from the corruption 
of the human heart, thefe two extremes do often become 
llrong temptations to the particular fms mentioned in the 
text ; which we fhall now confider feparately, in the or- 
der in which they lie in the paffage before us. 

*' Give me not riches, lell 1 be full and deny thee, and 
♦' fay, who is the Lord ?" 

As to the fadl:, that riches do often lead to profanity and 
contempt of God, experience, and the (late of the world 
prove it in a manner too plain to be denied. We not on- 
ly fee that thiofe, who are born and educated from their 
infancy in the higher ranks of life, are mod prone to ne- 
glect the duties of religion; but thofe who, from a low or 
mean condition, are remarkably raifed in the courfe of 
Providence, do often change their temper with their flate, 
and Ihow the unhappy influence of riches in leading theni 
to a forgetfulnefs of God. Are there not fome, who were 
regularly in God's houfe when they but barely fubfifted, 
who have not time for it now, when they are bufy and 
wealthy ? Are there not fome families, where the wor- 
Jhip of God was conflant and regular in early life, while 
they were undlflinguiflied, and now it is no more to be 
heard in their fumptuous palaces and elegant apartments ? 
Shall I fay, that any worm of the earth is become too con- 
fiderable to fall down before the omnipotent Jehovah ? 

I may add, as being of great importance in the prefent 
fubje^l, that fuch changes do often take place gradually 
and infenfibly, very much contrary to men's own expec- 
tation ; fo that we really do not know ourfelves, nor can 
W2 determine before trial, how far we would refill or yield 



The Danger of Prosperity. ^ 231 

to the force of tem])tation. The prophet Ellflia foretold 
to Mazael, the cruelties he would be j?uilty of when raifed 
to an higher ftation ; to which he replied with difdain and 
abhorrence ; " What, is thy fervant a dog-, that he fliculd 
*' do this great thing ? And Elilha anfwered, tiie Lord 
*' hath lliewed me that thou fhalt be king over Syria." — 
The condu6t of the children of Ifrael in their profperity, 
is but an emblem of the general conduft of the children 
of men. " But Jefliuruu waxed fat, and kicked. Thou 
*' art waxed fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered 
*' with fatnefs : Then he forfook God which made him, 
" and lightly efteemed the rock o\ his falvation." 

What hath been faid might be fufficient to fliew the 
propriety of the prophet's prayer ; for if fuch hath been 
ofien, or generally, the influence of worldly greatnefs 
upon other men, why fliould any be fo confident as to 
prefume it woukl be ocherwife with themfelves ? But per- 
haps it may afford matter of ufeful infirudlion, to inquire 
a little further into the fubje£l — to trace the caufes of this 
effcdt, and fliew how and why riches become an induce- 
ment to irrelig'on and profanenefs, for this will befl ena- 
ble us to apply the remedy. When I fpeak of examining 
the caufes of this eiTcft, I confels that no reafon can be 
given for it, but what reflerts great di (honor upon human 
nature in its prefent ilate. Were we to judge of the mat- 
ter by the di6lates of found reafon, we ihould naturally 
expert to find it diredly contrary. God is the author of 
every blefling which men poflefs, and his gifts fhould lead 
us to gratitude and acknowledgment. It feems natural 
then to fuppofe, that thofe who are mod highly favored in 
the courfe of Providence, f^iould difcover the greatefi: 
fenfe of obligation, and be ready to make every dutiful 
return. One would think that though the poor fnould be 
impatient, furely the rich will be content and thankful. 
Is not this reafonable ? Had any of you bedewed many 
lavors upon others, would you not e^pedt that their grati- 
tude fliould bear fome proportion to the number and va- 
lue of benefits received? Had any of them been rem.arka- 
bly difiinguifhed from the reft, would you not expeft from 
them the moil inviolable fidelity and attachment? Stran<^e, 



i3i 'Tkc Danger of Prosperity. 

that our condu^l fliould be fo direflly oppofite in the re^ 
turns we make rbr the goodnefs of our Muker ! That thofe 
who arediftinguiOied from others by the largeft poirtffions, 
and the greatell fuhiefs of all temporal mercies, fnould be 
the moil: prone to vvickednefs of all forts; but efpecially, 
that they fliould be peculiarly inclined to forget fulnefs 
and contempt of God! Yet fo it is in truth. But how- 
ever difhonorable it is to human nature, let us fcarch into 
it a little, and perhaps we may difcover the caufe of im- 
piety in perfons in affluent circumftances, and the danger 
the prophet would avoid, by attending to the following 
obfervatlons : 

1. An eaiy and affluent fortune affords the means, not 
only of pampering our bodies, but of gratifying all our 
lulls and appetites. They are as llrong probably in per- 
fons of inferior ilations, but Providence has rendered the 
jrratification more diflicult, and in feme cafes impofflble. 
Many work through neceiFity, wIjO would be as idle and 
ilothful as any, but for the fear of want. Thefe will be 
the firll and readied to reproach the rich, and call them 
idle drones, who revel in that abundance for v/hich they 
never toiled ; and to put to their own credit that which is 
wholly owing to the reitraints under which they are laid. 
Many are generally fober, becaufe they cannot afford the 
charges of intemperance, who want nothing but the means, 
to riot in the mod brutal ienfualit3^ But to perfons of 
great wealth, the obje6ls of defire are always placed in full 
view, and are evidently within their reach : fo that the 
temptation has uncommon force, and few are able entire- 
ly to refift it. 

2. Tlie indulgence of pleafure infenfibly induces a 
Jiabit, and leads men to place their happinefs in fuch en- 
joyments. Habit you know is very powerful, and while 
tiie habit acquires llrength, the power of refillance is gra- 
dually v/eakened.. Thefe gratifications confume fo much 
time, that there is little left to refjed upon God, and our 
relation to him. I reckon it none of the leall temptations 
to perfons of high rank, that not only their felf-indulgence, 
but the attendance and obfequioufnefs of others, fo en- 



The Danger of Prospenty; 233 

grofll's their attention, and vvafles their time, that they 
have few opportunities of calm and Ibber refledlion ; or at 
lead, can eafily efcape from it, and take refuge in compa- 
ny and amufemeni. Add to this, that a great variety of 
fenfible objefts and enjoyments render the mind, not only 
lefs attentive to things of a fpiritual nature, but indeed, 
lefs able to underRand them. 

3. Obferve further, that when the better part is thus 
neglected, and no care taken of the cultivation of the 
mind, every vice will fpring and fhoot up in the foul, as 
briars and thorns do upon uncultivated ground. Sin, my 
brethren, is natural to us; it is the produce of the foil; if 
it is not deilroyed, it will not die; if it is but neglected, it 
will thrive. Now when ever perfons fall under the power 
of vice, they begin firfl: toexcufe, and then to vindicate it. 
Thofe who are under the government of lull, foon find i| 
would be their intereft that there was no fuch thin,Qj as 
religion and virtue. Whatever we wifh, we are eafily led 
to believe to be true. Loofe and atheiftical principles 
then find a ready admittance, and are fwallowed down 
greedily. This is a fhort fkfetch of the Heps by which peo- 
ple in afHuent and eafy circumftances, are often led to deny 
God, and to fay : " What is the iVlmighty that we fhould 
*' ferve him, and what profit iliould we have if we pray 
" unto him ?" Loofe principles are, at firfl, more fre- 
quently the eiTed-, than the caufe of loofe practices ; but 
when once they have taken deep root, and obtained full 
dominion in the heart, they have a dreadful and fatal in- 
fluence on the devoted vi6tim. 

But, my brethren, I find a firong inclination to make 
another remark, though perhaps it may be thought of too 
refined and abfiraft a nature. It is, that the danger of 
ailiuence in leading to contempt of God, arifes from the 
nature of ail fin as fuch. The original and firfl fin of 
man, was plainly affefting independence. They defired 
and expeded to be as gods, knowing good and evil. 
And flill fin properly confifls in v/ithdrawing our allegi- 
ance from, and throwing off our depend;ince upon God, 
and giving, as it were, that elleem, love and fervice to 
. Vol. ir. G-r 



234 ^^^ Danger of Prosperity. 

ourfelves, in one fhape or another, that is due only to' 
him. 

Now obferve, that affluence nouriflies this miftake, and 
fufFering kills it. The more every thing abounds with 
us, the more our will is fubmitted to, and our inclinati- 
ons gratified on every fubjeQ ; the more we look upon 
ourfelves as independent, and forget our obligations to 
God. Whereas, on the other hand, difappointments and 
calamities open our blind eyes, and make us remember 
what we are; Was not the proud monarch of Babylon 
infpired with this delufive fenfe of independence, when he 
exprefled himfelf thus: "At the end of twelve mondis 
*' he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 
" The kingfpake and faid, is not this great Babylon, that 
" I have built for the houfe of the kingdom, by the might 
*' of my power, and for the honor of my majefty r" But 
mark the more powerful word of the King of kings. — 
•' While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a 
" voice from heaven, faying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to 
*' thee it is fpoken, the kingdom is departed from thee !'* 
That this is the proper fource of worldly greatnefs, may 
be ktn in the temper fuch perfons ufually acquire and 
fettle in, which is pride, infolence and contempt of others. 
Nay, it appears Hill more clearly in fome few inftances, 
in which the intoxication comes to its height, and the poor 
deluded mortal literally afpired to be confidered and treat- 
ed as God. It may feem incredible, but we have the moil 
authentic evidence that hillory can alTord, that fome men 
have demanded and received divine worfiiip. This was 
the cafe, not only with Alexander the Great, who was 
really an illullrious prince, but with fome of the later 
Roman emperors, who were the meaned and bafell of all 
men. No wonder then, that profperity makes men ne- 
gleft God, when it prompts them to fit down upon his 
throne, and rob him of the fervice of his other fubjedls. 

Before I proceed to the other part of the prophet's ar- 
gument, fuller me to make a few remarks, for the improve- 
ment of what has been already faid, And, 

I. See hence the great malignity and deceitfulnefs of 
fin. It hardly appears more ib-ongly from any circum- 



The Danger of Prosperity. 135 

flance, than that which has been the fubjeft of this dif- 
courfe, viz. that the gifts of God, in the courfe of his Pro- 
vidence, are fo far from exciting our gratitude, in pro- 
portion to their number and value, that on the contrary, 
thofe who receive niost are iifually most profane. They 
make his favors inftrumenis of rebelHon againfl him, 
and return contempt for his indulgence, and hatred for 
his love. 

Let us not take oecafion from this to gratify our own 
envy, by particular or perfonal reproach againft thole who 
are great, or have become rich amongft ourfelves; but 
Jet us adt a far wifer and julter part, and be humbled for 
the fmfulnefs of our nature, and Vv'arned of the deceitful- 
nefs of fin. We may feel the feeds of this difpofition in 
us all. You find the wife man charging a fimilar ingra- 
titude upon man in general. " Becaufe fentence againft 
*' an evil work is not executed fpeedily, therefore the 
" heart of the fons of men is fully fet in them to do evil." 
And do you not obferve every day, nay, has it is not turn- 
ed into a proverb, that Vv'e think light of our mercies, 
fpiritual and temporal, when they are common and abun- 
dant ? And what is the true and proper interpretation 
of this, but that the greater Gcd's goodnefs is to us, com- 
monly the lefs is our gratitude to him ? 

2. Let me befeech you to make a wife improvement of 
the advantages you enjoy over one another, i.et them ex- 
cite in you a holy emulation to tehify your fenfe of fuperi- 
or blefllngs, by fuperior piety and ufefulnefs. Do you 
excel others in any refpecl ? Are you fucceisl'ul in trade? 
Have you rifen to reputation ? Are you exalted to offices 
ol dignity ? Are you endowed with capacity of mind I 
Can you remember the time when thofe were your equals 
who are now your inferiors? Do not look with infolence 
upon others, making odious, and perhaps unjuft compan- 
ions. Do not fwell in pride and felf-complacence, as if 
by your own power you had made yourfelves to differ, but 
rather look the other way, to God, who is the maker both 
of rich and poor, and pray that your thankfulnefs and 
duty to him may exceed that of the poor man, as much 
as his libernlity to you exceeds what he has thought pro- 



236 The Danger of Prosperity. 

per to bcflow upon him. This affords me an opportunity 
of relating a little piece of private hiftory, that happened 
in Great Britain, and appears to me very worthy of re- 
membrance, and very conducive to the ends of edificati- 
on. 

A gentleman of very confiderable fortune, but a flran- 
ger to either perfonal or family religion, one evening took 
a folitary walk through a part of his own grounds. He hap- 
pened to come n^ar to a mean hut, where a poor man with 
a numerous family lived, who earned their bread by daily 
labor. He heard a voice pretty loud and continued. — 
Not knowing what it was, curiofity prompted him to lif- 
ten. The man, who v/as pioufly dilpoled, happened to 
be at prayer with his family. So foon as he could diftin- 
guifh the words, he heard him giving thanks with great 
affeilion to God, for the goodnefs of his providence, in 
giving them food to eat, and raiment to put on, and in 
fiipplying them vv/ith what was neceflary and comfortable 
in the prefent life. He was immediately, no doubt, by 
divine power, ftruck with allonifhment and confufion, 
and faid to himfclf, does this poor man, who has nothing 
but the meanefl fare, and tluit purchafed by fevere labor, 
give thanks to God for his goodnefs to himfclf and famil) , 
and I, who enjoy eafe and honor, and every thing that is 
grateful and defirable, have hardly ever bent my knee, or 
made any acknowledgment to my Maker and preferver. 
It pleafed God that this providential occurrence proved 
the mean of bringing him to a real and laiiing lenfc of 
God and religion. 

Let all perlbns in health, quiet and plentiful circum- 
fiances, learn from the preceding difcourle, what it is they 
ought clearly to guard againlL — Pride, fecurity, forgetful- 
nefs of God, are peculiarly incident to that Itate. '•'■ Lo 
*' this," faith the Lord to Jerufalenj, " was Ir.e iniquity 
" of th.y filler Sodom, pride, fulnefs of bread, and abun- 
" dance of idlenefs was in her, and in her daughters, 
*' neither did file Ih-engthen the hand of the poor and 
*' needy." A ferious refleiV:on on the obligation I'uch lie 
uudcr to God for what they have received in their conti- 
nued dependance uj-on him, and the iullability of all 



The Danger of Prosperity. 237 

earthly things, would fiive them from the hintrul infiueiice 
of vvorldl}L_4li:^'perity. To enforce this, I ihall only xt?A 
the apoilclic charge to Thnothy. ''• Charge thein that 
" are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, 
" nor trutl in uncertain riches, but in the hving God, who 
" giveth us all things richly to enjoy ; that tliey do good, 
" that they be rich in good works, ready to diftribute, 
*' willing to communicate ; laying up in {lore for them- 
?' felves a good foundation againfr the time to come, that 
" they may lay hold on eternal lite." 



t 239 ] 



THE DANGER OF ADVERSITY. 

SERMON 30. 



Proverbs xxx. 9. 
Lest I be poor and steal, and take the name of my God in vahu 

I PROCEED now to confider the argument by which 
the prophet urges the fecond branch of his requeft, 
which, in connexion, runs thus—'' Give me not poverty, 
*' \d\ I be poor r.nd Ileal." Having not only explained 
the general principle that runs through the whole of this 
iubiea, but alfo very particularly pointed out the dangers 
attending an opulent and wealthy ftate, I fliall endeavor 
to do the fame thing with refped to a itate of poverty and 
ilraitnefs. While I attempt this, I am fincerely forry 
that there is fo much propriety in the fubjeft ; and that it 
is fo well faited to the circumftances of the inhabitants of 
this place. You fee the prophet confiders the great and 
general temptation to which the poor are expofed, to be 
dilhonell, by ufmg fraudulent means of relieving their 
wants, or bettering their condition. You fee alfo, he con- 
fiders this temptation in its progrefs, not only inclining 
them to aft unjufUy, but fometim.es proceeding to the ter- 
rible degree of concealing or fupporting the fraud by falle- 
hood, and perhaps at lail by perjury or falfe fwearing ; 
*' left I be poor and fteal, and take the name of my God 
'' in vain." . . 



240 ^J^he Danger of Adxersity. 

Let 115 firfl confider a little tlie matter of fact, as it 
appears in experieiice, and then a few of its principal 
Cauies. 

As to liie firfi: of thefe, ihall I be afraid to afHrm, that 
extreme poverty often inclines perfons to diflionefty and 
fraud ? Will it be thought harfli and fevere to thofe al- 
ready fufficiently deprefied ! As I would not feem to fland 
in this place, aud flatter the pride^of the greatert and mofl 
eminent of my ffrllow-finners, {0 neither will I diifemble 
ti^e truth from a fdlfe compaffion for tfie poor. This 
Vv-ould indeed be doing them the greateft pcflible injury ; 
it would be treating them, from m.iftaUen tendernefs, as 
the rich are often treated from the fear or partiality of 
thofe who are about them ; fofiering their fclf deceit, and 
not fuffering them to hear the molt falutary truths, be- 
caufe they are not pleafing to the flefli. 

It is undoubtedly matter of experience, that great po- 
verty makes mar.y take unjufl: and unwarrantable methods 
of procuring relief. Not only fo, but they feem often 
ctifpofed to jufiify and defend them, as if they had a titlfi 
to redtify the miftakes of Providence, in the diilribution 
of worldly polTefliono. This, in the event, receives great 
encouragement from fome who feem to have irribibed a 
general falfe principle, and act u{)on it, both in their own 
conduct, and in their judgment of others. In the divifioa 
of rontroverfy, or dividing difputed property, when one 
JDarty is, or is fuppofed to be rich, and in eafy circum- 
ilances, and the other poor, and in a mean condition, 
they think that inlkad of a£ting according to O.rltt juliice^ 
the advantage fiiould ahvays be made to fall to the poorer 
fide. This condudt is confidered by fome, not only as 
lawful, but as laudable. It is however a talfe principle, 
and is condemned in fcripture, which Hiys, " Neither 
"■ flialt thou countenance a poor man in his caufe." It 
may be thougl.t, perhaps, that the other is the more com- 
mon and dangerous partiality, and probably it is fo ; yet 
this alio is blame-worthy, and when followed out, as I ani 
afraid it too often is, muft involve numbers unawares in 
the guilt of Reaiing ; for v;hen they have once laid do\7!i 
this rule, that the poor h;ue feme chiim upon the rich," 



The Danger of Achersiiy. 241 

they are ready to apply it to their own cafe, and extend 
it very far. But in all matters of property, or right and 
v/rong, whether a perfon is rich or poor, ought to be ut- 
terly out of the queltion ; the only thing to be confidered 
is, what is jull and lawful. The rich are indeed, in point 
of confcience, bound to affift the poor ; but this mull be 
their own adl; no perfon can take the fmallefl: part of their 
property without their confent, but he is guilty of an a6t 
of injullice, and violation of the law of God. No perfon 
has a right to make them generous and charitable againft 
their wills, or to exercife their own generofity and charity 
at their expence. This mud: be left to the Supreme Judge 
at the lad day, who will fay to them, " I was a ftranger 
" and ye took me not in, naked and ye clothed me not, 
*' fick and in prifon and ye vifited me not." But what 
will give us the mod diftin6t view of the influence of 
poverty, as a temptation, is the too frequent conduct of 
thofe who are reduced from what was once their Itate, to 
poverty or debt, by misfortunes or extravagance, or mif- 
nianagement of their affairs. The temptation of poverty 
is not by far fo great to thofe in the meanefl: ranks of life, 
whofe income, though fmallj is not very difproportionate 
to what hath always been their condition; as to thofe who 
are reduced from a higher to a lower date — The kw^ who 
in fuch a fituation preferve their integrity inviolated, and 
their finctrrity of fpeech unfufpedled, deferve the highell 
honor. Nay, I am perfuaded that, bad as the world is, 
every perfon in reduced circurndances, would meet with 
companion and affiftance, if all about him were fenfible 
that he had neither lod his fubdance by negledt, nor 
waded it by riot, nor concealed it by fraud. But though 
we cannot help afcribing fome meafure of what is laid to 
the charge of perfons in this unhappy date, to the rage 
and refentment of thofe who have fuffered by them ; yet 
alas, there is too great reafon to affirm, that they are too 
often guilty of prevarication and fraud, the fins mention- 
ed in the text. 

I will dwell no longer upon the faft, but will confider 
a little the reafons of it, which will direftly ferve to pro- 
mote the defign of this difcourfe, by exciting men to con- 

VoL. II. Hh 



242 ^he Danger of Adversity. 

cern and folicitude, as well as pointing]; out the proper 
means of avoiding the temptation. The general reafon 
of this, to be fure, is obvious to every body, that perfons 
in poverty, being (Irongly folicited by the appetites com- 
mon to all men, and not having of their own wherewith 
to gratify their defires, are tempted to lay hold of the pro- 
perty of others. They grudge to fee that others have the 
enjoyments from which they are debarred ; and fince they 
cannot have them in a lawful, make bold to feize them in 
an unlawful way. But this I do not infill: on, that I may 
mention one or two particular reafons, which will fuggeit 
fuitable exhortations to duty. 

I. The firfl I (liall mention, is ignorance. This is 
peculiarly applicable to thofe in the lowed ranks of life. 
Through poverty they are not fo well intruded as they 
ought to be, in the principles of religion, and the great 
rules of duty. An ignorant Hate is almofl always a flate 
offecurity. — Their confciences are lefs tender, and they 
are lefs fenfible of the great evil of prevarication and fraud. 
I am obliged, in fidelity, to fay, that in the private infpec- 
tion of my charge, though I have found fome inflances 
both of poverty and ficknefs borne with the moll pious 
refignation, there are alfo fome vvhofe condition mi.i^ht 
move the hardefl: heart, living in the mofl: fordid poverty, 
grofsly ignorant, and, at the fame time, fo dlfpirited, fo 
flotht'ul, or fo proud, that they will do little to obtain 
knowledge for themfelves, or communicate it to their chil- 
dren. Many will not attend upon the public means of 
inftrudlion, becaufe they cannot appear in fuch a decent 
garb as they could wifli ; and for the fame reafon they keep 
their children from them, till they contrail fuch habits of 
idlenefs and vice, that they come out into the world with- 
out principle, obllinate and intradible. Is not the duty 
here very plain ? All fuch fliould exert themfelves to 
obtain the knowledge of the things which belong to their 
peace. They fliould neither be unwilling nor afliamed 
to make application for fupply; and even the coarfell rai- 
ment Ihould not hinder them from appearing in the houfe 
of God. Thus they will find acceptance with him, if they 
worfnip him in the beauty of holiiiefs, preferable to thofe 



The Danger of Adversity. 243 

who are clothed in purple and fine linen, and their hearts 
are after their covetoufnefs. 

2. Another great reafon why poverty becomes a temp- 
tation to fraud is, that they are introduced to it infenfibly, 
and led on by degrees. The fin ileals upon them by lit- 
tle and little. People involved in their circumftances, to 
get rid of importunity and folicitation, make promifes, 
more of what they hope or wifh, than of what they are 
able to do. Neceffity ferves as an excufe for their failing 
to their own minds, and thus they are gradually brought 
into a breach of fmcerity, and proceed from lower to higher 
degrees of falfhood. Little arts of evafion are firfl made 
ufe of, and doubtful pra6lices are entered upon. One fin 
feems neceffary to llrengthen or conceal another, till at 
lafl: the groffcft fraud, and fometimes perjury itfelf, clofes 
the unhappy fcene. I have read an excellent obfervation, 
that there is hardly fuch a thing as a fingle fin ; they are 
always to be found in cluilers. I am fure, this holds in 
a particular manner as to fins of injufiice. They are fo 
interwoven and connedled together, that you cannot re- 
ceive any one without being obliged to admit the reft. 
This is one great branch of the deceitfulnefs of fin in ge- 
neral ; with a view to which the apoftle fays, '' But ex- 
*' hort one another daily while it is called to-day, left any 
" of you be hardened through the deceitfulnefs of fin." 

3, I only mention one other reafon of poverty being a 
temptation to fraud, viz. that in time it deftroys the fenfe 
of ftiame. I am not ignorant, that a fenfe of ftiame, which 
is nothing (i\{t but a fear of the cenfure of others, neither 
is, nor ought to be the main principle of a good man's ac- 
tions. But as there is no other principle at all in many, 
fo it is a good affiftant, and corroborative when juftly di- 
re£ted; but now, through the corrupt maxims of the world, 
poverty is fo much the obje£t of contempt, and thofe who 
are in this ftate, meet every day with fo many marks of 
negleft from all, that before their condition is known, they 
will do almoft any thing to conceal it, and after it is 
known, they become in tinie fo deftitute of Ihame, that 
;hey ?,re ynder no further reftraint. 



244 ^'^^ Danger of Ad'vershy. 

From this particular branch of the fubjed, let me put 
you in mind, 

1. What reafon many have to be thankful to the God 
of life, who hath given them their daily provifion, if not 
in all the abundance of immenfe riches, yet in fulnefs and 
fufficiency. An humble, thankful difpofition is not only 
your duty, in return for the divine bounty, but is itfelf 
the richell and fweetefl. ingredient in all temporal mercies. 
— It is that, indeed, which makes them mercies. — Envi- 
ous perfons do not taftc what they have, their evil e3"e be- 
ing fixed on what they cannot obtain. Things in this re- 
fpe<5t are juil what they feem to be. Our comforts are as 
we are enabled to relifli them. The fame poflellions which 
are defpifed by the impatient or ambitious, are a treafure 
and abundance lo the humble and grateful. 

2. if poverty is a temptation, it ought to be an argu- 
ment to all to avoid it, or feek deliverance from it by law- 
ful means. Apply yourfelves with fleadinefs and perfe- 
verance to the- duties of your calling, that you may pro- 
vide things honefl; in the fight of all men. It is a duty of 
the law, and ot the gofpel ; and it hath this promife, in 
general, annexed to it, that " the hand of the diligent 
-" maketh rich." Read, I befeech you, that vaft treafure 
of ufeful indrudlion, the book of Proverbs ; where you 
will meet with many excellent counfels and wife obferva- 
tions upon this fubjeft. Of thefe 1 fliall mention at pre- 
fent, but two paffages, fele61ed both for the foundnefs of 
the iniiruftion, and the beauty of the illuflration. "■ Go 
*' to the ant, thou fluggard, confider her ways and be wife; 
" which having no guide, overleer, or ruler, provideth 
*' her meat in thefuminer, and gathereth her ibod in the 
" harvelh How long wilt thou fleep, O fluggard? When 
*' wilt thou arife out of thy fleep? So fliall thy poverty 
" come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed 
" man." And again ; " I went by the field of the flothful, 
" and by the vineyard of the man void of underftanding ; 
" and lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles 
"' had covered the face thereof, and the ftone-wall thereof 
" was broken down." 



7he Banger of Adiiersity, 245 

3 . Are any of you poor and reduced in your clrcum- 
ftances, fet a double watch upon your conduct, and ear- 
neftly pray that God may preferve you from fraud and 
difingenuity of every kind. Rather fuffer yourfelves to 
be ftripped of every thing, and apply to the charity of 
others, which is not fmful, and ought not to be ihameful, 
than take any difhonefl methods of bettering your (late. 
O melancholy thought, that many, when they become 
defperate in their circumdances, become alfo defperate in 
their courfcs, and drown the reflection of their confciences 
in flothfulnefs and fenfuality ! Sincerity, integrity, pati- 
ence and fobriety in a ruined fortune are doubly eminent; 
at leall, whatever they may be in the light of the world, 
they are honorable and precious in the fight of God, and 
of all good men. 

Before concluding, fuffer me to make one or two re- 
fleClions on the fubjedl in general; the feveral parts of 
which I have now explained. And, 

I. On what hath been faid on this fubjedl, I would 
graft this important leflbn; that you fhould not only fludy 
to preferve yourfelves from fin, but from all fuch circum- 
ilances of temptation as are dangerous to human conllan- 
cy. This was the very ground of the prayer of the pro- 
phet in my text, and is the fubflance of the reafons he af- 
figns for his requefl. We are taught the fame thing in 
the Ib-ongeli: manner, by the feveral inftances of human 
frailty, and the folly of prefumptuous confidence, record- 
ed in fcripture. " Now all thefe things happened unto 
^' them for enfamples, and they are written for our admo- 
" nition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 
^' "Wherefore, let him that thinketh he ftandeth take heed 
*' led he fiUl." We are alfo taught the fame thing by him 
who knew what was in man, as he has given us diredli- 
ons in the form of prayer which he taught his difciples, to 
fay,- Lord, "lead us not into temptation." 

Are you really unwilling to do evil, you will be con- 
cerned to keep your.'elves out of the way of every folici- 
tation to it. This is confiantly the effeCl of a judicious 
and folid piety, and thofe who ad otherwife fliew that 
they either have po real goodnefs, or that they are very 



246 • The Danger af Adversity, 

V eak Chriftlans, and little acquainted either with them- 
fclves, or this prefcnt evil world. 

2. You may learn howneceflary it is, that you fhould 
look for the divine afliliance and diredion, to avoid the 
temptation of every Hate of life. We are truly of ourfelves 
unequal to the trials with which we are furrounded. Not 
that there is any thing unjofl or oppreflive in the meafures 
of Providence; but becaufe it feems good to our Maker, to 
pblige us to a conflant dependance upon himfelf and his 
promifed help. " But God is faithful, who will not fuffer 
*' you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with 
*' the temptation alfo make a way to efcape, that ye may 
*' be able to hear it.'' 

The leall temptation may prove too hard for us, if we 
negleft to apply for fupreme aid; but in divine Itrength, 
we may bid defiance to the moH; formidable oppofiiion. 
This tern. per is well exemplified and defcribed by the 
apoflle Paul to the Corinthians. '' And he faid unto me, 
*' my grace is fuflicient for thee, for my ftrength is made 
^' perfed in weaknefs. Mofl; gladly, therefore, will I ra- 
*' ther glory in my infirmities, that the power of ChriH: 
'' may refi: upon me. Therefore, I take pleafure in in- 
t' firmities, in reproaches, in neceflitles, in perfecution, 
" in diflreder. for ChnU's fake; for when I am weak, then 
" am I llrong." 

3. From what hath been faid, you may fee what an in- 
feparable connexion there is between true religion and 
your employments and (late in this prefent world. They 
have a mutual, ilrong, and conftant influence upon one 
another. It is a fatal, though a common error to feparate 
them; entirely to confine religion to the times and places 
of immediate worfliip, and fuppofe that it hath nothing to 
do vvith the maxims of trade and conmnerce, or other 
worldly callings. On the contrary, your impreirions of 
things fplritual and eternal, will direct and regulate your 
views as to the prefent life; and your fuccefs or misfor- 
tunes in worldly I'chemes, will have a certain and vifible 
efle(ft upon your Chriflian converfation, and the itate of 
your fouls. Therefore, let them never be feparated iq 
your ovva vievvs, and let them Hill be kept in their proper 



The Danger of Adversity >. 247 

order and fubordination. Though the light and trivial 
ufe, not only of the name of God, but of fcripture-lan- 
guage, is both finful and dangerous ; and though a for- 
ward oftentatious piety may fometimes look fufpicioiis, 
yet it were to be wiflied we had more of a grave and habi- 
tual acknowledgment of God in all our ways. This was 
the language of the Patriarchs of old. In one of the for- 
mer difcourfes upon this fubjedt, I took notice of Jacob's 
prayer, when he fet out for Padan-aram. See after the 
increafe of his family, how he expreffes himfelf in anfwer 
to his brother Efau. " And he lift up his eyes and faw 
*' the women and children, and faid, who are thofe with 
*' thee? And he faid the children which God hath graci- 
*' oufly given thy fervant." See alfo the apoflolical direc- 
tion for the manner of proje6ling our future purpofes. — 
" Go to now, ye that fay to-day, or to-morrow, we will go 
*' into fuch a city, and continue there a year, and buy 
" and fell, and get gain." 

4. In the lafl place, let me befeech, in the tenderefl 
manner, every one of you, rich and poor, to remember 
an approaching eternity. It will not be long till the ho- 
norable, and defpifed, the wealthy and the needy, the 
mailer and the fervant, fliall lie down in the dull. Lay hold 
of that covenant of peace which is ordered in all things 
and fure. Hear a great and conftant truth. " What is a 
*' man profited, though he Ihould gain the whole world 
" and loie his own foul, or what fliall a man give in ex- 
*' change for his foul ?" How many a Lazarus is now in 
Abraljam's bofom ; and how many a rich man, that once 
lived delicately on earth, is at this moment tormented in 
hell-fire ! The gofpel of peace is now preached in your 
ears. Believe in the name of the Lord Jefus Chrift, and 
ye fliall be laved. I cannot promife that you fliall be rich, 
but all things neceflary are aflured to you by the divine 
promife; food and raiment, fupport under trials, (Irength 
for duty, and in the world to come, everlailing red. 



t ^49 ] 



On THE RELIGIOUS EDUCATIOX of CHILDREX. 



SERMON 31. 



Preached in the Old Prelbyterian Church in New- York, to a 
very numerous audience, on the evening of the fecond Sab- 
bath in May, 1789. 



Mark x. 13, 14, 15, 16. 

And they brought young children unto hhn^ that he should 
touch therHy and his disciples rebuked those that brouo-ht 
therm But xvhen Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, 
and said unto them, Sujfer the little children to come unto 
me, and forbid them not': for of such is the kingdom of God, 
Vtrilij I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the king- 
dom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And 
he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and 
blessed them. 

THERE are few things In which perfons of refledlion, 
in general, and efpecially thofe who fear God, are 
more agreed, than the iajportance of the rifing generation; 
or, which is the true meaning of that exprellion, the im- 
portance of the in{tru6lion and government of youth. 

This is a fubject of great extent, and may alfo be taken 
up in a great variety of lights, I am one of thofe who think 
that it may, as well as many others, be, with much ad- ■ 
vantage, confidered dodrinally ; and that a clear view of 
divine truth upon every fubjedt, will have the moll pow- 
erful and happy influence, not only in directing our i^n^ 
timents, but in governing our pradice. 

Vol. IL li 



250 On the Religions 

There is much to be feen of the proper glor}' of the Re- 
deemer in this paffage of fcripture — His ufefulnefs — his 
attention to improve every feemingly accidental occur- 
rence for the purpofe of inllruftion, and his amiable con- 
defcenfion to all who humbly applied to" Him, and tender 
feeling for their wants and weaknefTes. It appears from 
this pafTage, that the inhabitants about Jordan, where he 
tlien was, not only brought their fick to be healed, as they 
did in mofl other places, but brought young children "that 
*' he lliould touch them." In Luke they are called in- 
fants; and in the latter end of the paflage now read, it is 
faid, he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, 
and blefled them ; fo that it is probable they v/ere all of 
them of very early age, and fome of them perhaps, literally 
what we call infants, who could not yet fpeak or walk. I 
fee not the lead foundation for what fome commentators 
imagine, that they might labor under fome diforder, from 
which the parents fuppofed he would cure them : If this 
had been the intention, the difciples would not, probably, 
have found any fault with it. The probability is, that the 
parents or relations of the children brought them, expect- 
ing that he would lay his hands on them — authoritatively 
blefs them, and pray for them ; from which they believed 
important benefits might be derived to them. The dif- 
ciples, we are told, " rebuked thofe that brought them," 
iuppofmg, doubtlefs, that it was an impertinent and unne- 
Cii^d.\y interruption of their mafler, and that the children 
eould receive no benefit at that early time of life; and who 
knows but, like the human wifdom of later times, they 
Tnight think the attempt fuperlVitious as well as unneceiTa- 
Ty. However, our Lord v/as of a different opinion, and 
faid — " Suffer the little children to come unto me, and 
" forbid them not; for of iuch is the kingdom of God." 

Now the fingle fubjedl of this difcourfe ihall be to in- 
quire. What is the import of this declaration? and, "What 
we may underdand onr Saviour as affirming, when he 
fays, of younc: children or infants, " cf fuch is the king- 
" dom of God?'^ After this, I will give fuch advices as 
the truths that may be eflabliflied fuall fugged, and as they 
feem to me mod proper to enforce. 



\ Education of Children, 251 

Let lis then confider what we may iindernand our Sa- 
viour as afflrminjT, when he fays of young children or in- 
fants, " of fuch is the kingdom of God." 

And, in the firfl place, we may underftand by it, that 
children may be taken within the bond of God's covenant; 
become members of the vifible church, and, in confe- 
quence, be relathely holy. I do not found the lawful- 
nefs of ini^mt baptifm on this pafFage alone, and m.ean to 
enter into no controverfy on the fubjeft at this time ; but, 
as it is clearly eftabliilied in other pafTages, it may well 
be underftood here. At any rate fo far as I have affirmed 
is undoubtedly certain, that they may be admitted vvithia 
the bond of God's covenant. We know, that under the 
Old Teftament, they received the fign of circumcifion, 
which in the New Teftament, is faid to be " a leal of the 
" righteoufnefs that is of faith." (Rom. iv. 11.) Many be- 
nefits may arife from this. As in the natural conftitution 
of man, many advantages and difadvantages are derived 
from parents upon the offspring, fo in the moral conftitu- 
tion of divine grace, many blefilngs, fpiritual and tempo- 
ral, may be inherited from pious parents. Children are 
the fubjedls of prayer ; and, of confequence, within reach 
of the promife. The believer may juftly hope for his feed 
dying in infancy, and in after life, many eventual provi- 
dential mercies may be expelled from that God who 
*' flieweth mercy to thoufands of generations of them that 
" love him." 

It was ufual in the mofl: ancient times, for aged or holy 
perfons to blefs children formally. I do not recoiled!: in 
ancient hiflory, a more beautiful, or more tender fcene, 
than that v;e have recorded. Gen. xlviii. 15. of the patri- 
arch Jacob's bleffing his grand-children, the Ions of Jofeph, 
when he was about to die — " And he blelTed Jofeph and 
*' faid, God before whom my fathers, Abraham and Ifaac, 
*' did vt'alk, the God which fed me all my life long to this 
" day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, blefs 
" the lads ; and let my name be named upon them, 
" and the name of my fatlievs, Abraham and Ifaac : 
" And let them grow into a muliitudc in the midft o[ the 
[' earth." V/e are told by an ancient writer of the Chrif. 



2 j2 On the Religious 

tian church, that Ignatius, afterwards blfliop of Antioch, 
was one of thole children thus brought to Chrill for his 
blefling ; and there is no realon, that 1 know of, to oppofe 
the tradition : For fuppofing him to have been an infant, 
or even from 2 to 5 years of age, it would make him only 
between 70 and 80 at the time of his martyrdom, in the 
year io8 from the birth of Chrilt. 

2. The declaration " of fuch is the kingdom of God," 
may be underilood to imply, that children may, even in 
infancy, be the fubjeds of regenerating grace, and thereby 
become really holy. This is plain from the nature of the 
thing; for if they can carry the corrupt imprcfTion of 
Adam's nature in their infant ftate, there can be no doubt 
but they may be renewed after the image of him that cre- 
ated them. Almighty power can eafily have accefs to 
them, and can, in anfwcr to prayers, as well as endeavors, 
form them for their Maker's fervice. See what the pro- 
phet Ifaiah fays, xxviii. 9. " Whom fliall he teach know- 
*' ledge ? and whom fliall he make to underftand dodrine ? 
*' Thofe that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from 
" the breads." Samuel was a child of prayer, and dedi- 
cated to God from his infant years, and it is faid of him, 
J Sam. ii. 26. " And the child Sanmel grew, and was in 
*' favor both with the Lord, and alio with men." It is 
an exprefiion frequently to be found in pious writers, and 
among them that are far from denying the univerfal cor- 
ruption of human nature, that fome may be fiud to be 
fanclified from the womb — that is, that the time of their 
renovation may be beyond the reach both of underfiand- 
ing and memory ; and this being certainly polTible, may 
juilly be confidered as the objed of defire and the fubje6"t 
of prayer. Few, perhaps, have failed to obferve, that 
fome children difcover upon the fird dawn of reafon, an 
amiable and tradable difpolition, and drink in fpiritiial 
inftruflion with defire and delight ; while others difcover 
a frowardnefs and repugnance, tliat is with much difllculty, 
if at all, and fometimes never, overcome. 

3. I think this declaration implies, that children are 
much more early capable of receiving benefit, even by 
outward means, than is generally fuppofed. No doubt 



Education of Children. 253 

tiie reafon of the condutl of the difclples was, that they 
fuppofed the children could receive no benefit. In this, 
from our Lord's anfwer, it is probable he thought them 
miftakcn. I will not enlarge on fome refined remarks of 
perfons as didinguifned for learning as piety ; fome of 
whom have fuppofed, that they are capable of receiving 
impreffions of drfire and averfion, and even of moral tem- 
per, particularly, of love or hatred, in the firfi; year of 
their lives. I muH:, however, mention a remark of the 
jufily celebrated M. Fenelon, archbifhop of Cambray, be- 
caufe the fact on which it is founded is undeniable, and 
the deduction from it important. He fays, that ' before 
■' they are thought capable of receiving any inflruclion, or 

* the leafi: pains are taken with them, they learn a lan- 

* guage. — Many children at four years of age can fpeak 
' their mother tongue, though not with the fame accura- 

* cy or grammatical precifion, yet with greater readinefs 
' and fulnefs than moll fcholars do a foreign language 
'after the iludy of a whole life.' If I were to enlarge 
upon this I might fay, they not only difcover their intel- 
ledual powers by connecting the idea with the fign, but 
acquire many fentiments of good and evil, right and 
wrong, in that early period of their life. Such is the at- 
tention of children, that they often feem to know their 
parents' tempers fooner and better than they know their's, 
and to avail themfelves of that knowledge to obtain their 
defires. 

To apply this to our prefent fubjedl, or rather the oc- 
cafion of it, allow me to obferve, that the circumflances 
of folemn tranfadions are often deeply engraven upon 
very young minds. It is not impofiible that fome of thofe 
young children might recolleft and be affected Vvith the 
jnajeliy and condefcenfion of Jefus of Nazareth, and the 
impreifion be attended vvith happy fruits. At any rate, 
as no doubt the parents would often relate the tranfadlion 
to their children, this would be a kind of fecondary me- 
mory, and have the fame effefl upon their fentiments and 
conduft. 

4. This declaration Implies, that the earlieft-, in gene- 
ra], is the fitted and bed time for iuflrudtion. This part 



254 ^'^ ^^-"^ Relict Otis 



<i' 



of the fitbje^ has been treated at full length by many wri- 
ters in every apje, I tlierefore jliall fay the lefs upon it— - 
Only obferve. That the importance ot" early inflrudion is 
written upon the whole fyftem of nature, and repeated in 
every page of the hillory of Providence. You may bend 
a young twig and make it receive almofl any form : but 
that which has attained to maturity, and taken its ply, you 
will never bring into any other fliape than that which it 
naturall)' bears. In the fame manner thole habits which 
men contraCl in early life, and are ftrengthened by time, 
it is next to impoflible to change. Far be it from me to 
fay any thing in oppofition to tae infinite power and abfo- 
lute fovereignty of God ; but let us alfo beware of confider- 
ing thefe as oppofcd to the natural courfe of things, or the 
life and efficacy of means. We have many warnings 
upon this fubjeft in fcripture, where the recovery of an 
habitual and hardened finner, is hkened to a natural im- 
poHibility, Jcr. xiii. 23. — " Can the Ethiopian change hia 
*' fl^in, or the leopard his fpots I then may ye alio do good 
'' that are accuflomed to do evil." God will referve to 
himfelf his own abfolute fovereignty, but it is at every 
finner's own peril if he prefume upon it and abufe it. 

5. This declaration of our Saviour — " Of fuch is the 
*' kingdom of God" — may imply, that, in faiTt, the real 
difciplcs of Chrill chiefly confii'l of thofe who are called in 
their earlier years. The viiible church of Chrid is a nu- 
merous and mixed fociety ; but his myflical body, con- 
fifting of real believers, I think we are warranted from 
this pafiage of fcripture and others, as well as the analogy 
of faith, and the realbn and nature of things, to fuppofe, 
confifts for tlie moQ: part of thofe who are called in infancy 
and youth. This is an important truth, and deeply 
fraught v\ith inftruilion to all, of every rank. There are 
fome called after a courfe of oppofition to God, but they 
are few in comparifon ; therefore the apofilc Paul llylts 
hinilclf — " One born out of due time." Perhaps experi- 
ence and a deliberate view of the Rate of the world, is fuf- 
ficient to prove this affertion. The inllances of conver- 
fion \i\ advanced life, are very rare : and v/hen it fcems 
to happen, \\, is perhaps moil commonly the rcfurrecVioi) 



Eclutation of Children. ^55 

ofthofe feeds which were fovvn in infancy, hut had been 
long ftifled by the violence of youthful pallions, or the 
purfuits of ambition and the hurry of an aftive life. I 
have known feveral inftances of the inftruaions, long 
neglefted, of deceafed parents, at lail rifing up, aiferting 
their authority, and producing tl\e deepeft penitence and 
real reformation. But my experiences furnilhcs me with 
no example of one brought up in ignorance and fecurity, 
after a long courfe of profanenefs, turning, at the dole 
of life, to tiie fervice of the living God. The moll com- 
mon cafe is, that the deep lleep continues to the laft, and, 
as the f^iying is, they die as they live ; though in feme in- 
ftances, when the fins have been of the groffell kind, con- 
fcience awakens at their going off the ftage, and they feem, 
as it v/ere, to begin the torments of hell with the terror 
of defpair. 

You will find in fome pra6lical writers an opinion, of 
fentiment, that feems not ill-founded to the following pur- 
pofe, ' Some are called at the eleventh hour that none 
* may defpair,' and there are few, that none may prefume. 
Others make a diftintlion, not without ground, as it feems 
founded upon the wifdom and equity of the divine go- 
vernment; That when the gofpel comes to a people that 
had long fitten in darknefs, there may be numerous con- 
verts of all ages ; but when the gofpel has been long 
preached in plenty and purity, and ordinances regularly 
adminiftered, few but thofe who are called in early life 
are ever called at all. A very judicious and pious writer^ 
Mr. Richard Baxter, is of opinion, that in a regular ftate 
of the church, and a tolerable meafure of faithfiilnefs and 
purity in its officers, family inlb'uclion and governm.ent 
are the ufual means of converiion, public ordinances of 
edification. This feems agreeable to the language of 
fcripture ; for we are told God hath kt in the church 
** apoPdcs, prophets, evangeliils, pallors and teachers," 
(not for converting fmners, but) " for perfecling of the 
" faints for the work of the miniftry, and the edifying of 
" the body of Chrifl;." it feems to acid further weight to 
this, that moll of thofe who are recorded in fcripture as 
eminent for piety, were called in early life; and v/e know 



256 Oh tJje EcUgious 

not but it may have been tlie cafe with others, thougli nofc 
particularly mentioned: Thofe I have in vieu'-, are Abra- 
ham, Mofes, Samuel, David, Solomon, Jofiah, Daniel, 
and the three Children, in the Old Teftament, and in 
the New, John Baptifl and John the beloved difciple j 
of whom I may juft obferve, that no other reafon has ever 
been given for the Saviour's didinguifliing him by parti- 
cular i:{feftion, but that he was the youngeft of the twelve. 
6. In the laft place, this declaration implies that the 
comparative innocence of children is a lefTon to us, and 
an emblem of the temper and carriage of Chrill's real dif- 
ciples. This inftructicn we are not left to infer for our- 
felves. Our Lord has made the remark in the pafiage 
where the text lies, " Whofoever fhall not receive the 
*•• kingdom of God as a little child, fliall not enter there- 
" in." This is cliredly levelled againfl the pride of felf- 
fufficiency, and every rough and boifterous pafficn. It is 
remarkable tliat the very fame image is made ufe of in fe- 
veral paffages of fcrijjture. Th.us, Mattb. xviii. 1,2,3^ 
4. " At the fame time came the difciples unto Jefus, 
" faying, Who is the greateft in the kingdom of heaven ? 
*' And Jefus called a.little child unto him, and fet him in 
" the midft of them, and faid, verily I fay unto you, ex- 
*' cept ye be converted, and become as little children, ye 
*' fliall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whofo- 
" ever, therefore fliall humble himfelf as this little child, 
*' the fame is greatefi: in the kingdom of heaven." So 
alio the apoftle Paul, 1 Cor. xlv. 20. " Brethren, be not 
*' children in underflanding : hovv'beit, in malice be ve 
*' children, but in underO.anding be men :" — And fur- 
ther, I Peter ii. i, 2. " Wherefore laying afide all ma- 
*' lice, and all guile, and hypocrifics, and envies, and 
** all evil fpeakings, — as new-born babes, dcfire the fin- 
" cere milk of the v> ord, that ye may grow thereby." — 
The graces of the fpiritual life recommended to us by this 
beautiful image, are humility, gentlenefs, teachablencfs, 
fincerity, and eafinefs to be reconciled : all which are re- 
markable in young perfons, and are frequently loft or vili- 
ated by growing years. 



Education of Childreii. 2^'f 

1 come nov/ to make a practical Improvement of the 
Tubjeft, which fhall be confined to pointing out the duties 
fuggefled by the foregoing truths, as they are feverally 
incumbent on, i. parents; 2. children; 3. every hearer 
of the gofpel. 

I. Let us confider the duties Incumbent on parents. 
Is it fo, that of children or infants the Redeemer faid, of 
fuch is the kingdom of God ? Then parents (liould be 
(1) thankful. Thankfulnefs is a happy frame of fpirit in 
itfelf, and powerfully reconciles the mind to difficult, and 
animates it to important duties. Be thankful then for the 
honor that iS done you, for the trull that is repofed in 
you, and for the encouraging promife of God to affift and 
accept of you in the clifcharge of it. " Children are the 
*' gift of God, and the fruit of the womb is his reward." 
I cannot eafily figure to myfelf any greater earthly bleffing 
than to have children to be the obje6\s of your care and 
diligence while you live, and to inherit your name and 
fubftance, when you yourfelves mufl, in the courle of na- 
ture, go off the ftage. And is it a little honor to be in« 
trulled with the care of thefe rational creatures ol God, 
born for immortality, and whole prefent peace and fu- 
ture welfare depend fo much on your conduct ? Are you 
not called to prepare members for the church of Chrift? — 
" for of fuch is his kingdom ;" and however important 
the miniflry of the gofpel is (which I fhould be the lalt to 
detract from) you may know, that it is out of a minifler's 
power to fpeak to the underftanding of thofe who are not 
prepared by previous inftruftion. But above all, how- 
thankful fhould you be for the encouragement given you 
to bring your children to the Saviour, and the promife 
of his blefling. " He took them up in his arms, laid 
** his hands on them and blefl^ed them." Fathers ! Mo- 
thers ! What ground of praife to the condefcending 
Saviour ! 

(2.) Be early and diligent in inflrudion. This is the 
great and fubfiantial evidence you are called to give of 
your thankfulnefs for the mercy. You have heard that 
children are much more early capable of receiving be* 

Voi;. IT. K k 



258 On the Religious 

nefit by outward means than is commonly fuppofed : Let 
not, therefore, the devil and the world be too far before- 
hand with you, in poflefiing their fancy, engaging their 
affections, and mifleading their judgment. Is it a fable, 
or do I fpeak truth when I fay, many children learn to 
fwear before they learn to pray. It is indeed afFefting 
to a ferious mind, to hear children lifping out ill- pro- 
nounced oaths, or fcurrilous and fcolding abufe, or even 
impurities which they do not underftand ; fo that the firft 
fentiments they form, and the firfl: words they utter, are 
thofe of impiety, malice, or obfcenity. Nay I have {ttn 
children in their mother's arms aftually taught to fcold, 
by uttering angry founds, before they could fpeak one 
word with diftindnefs. It is wholly impoffible for me 
here to introduce a fyllem of direQions as to the method 
of early inflruQion ; this mufl be learned elfevvhere and 
at another time ; but I mean to imprefs your minds with 
a fenfe of the importance and neceffity of the duty, and 
I will add, the efficacy of it. Remember the connexion 
between the duty and the promife — " Train up a child in 
" the way he fliould go, and when he is old he will not de- 
" part from it." I knew a pious and judicious minifter, 
tvho affirmed, that we did not give credit to that part of 
God's word if we did not believe the certainty of the pro- 
mife, as well as the obligation of the duty ; he was of opi- 
nion, that every parent, when he feemed to fail, fhould 
conclude that he himfelf had been undutiful, and not that 
God had been unfaithful. 

(3.) Be circumfpeft and edifying in your example. 
AH the arguments that prefs the former exhortation, ap- 
•p\y with the fame, perhaps I may fay, with double force 
to this. Example is itfelf the mod powerful and fuccefs- 
ful inflruiStion ; and example is necelTary to give meaning 
and influence to all other inliruftion. This is one of 
the olded maxims upon the fubjed of education ; — I'he 
Roman fatyrift fays, ♦' Nil di£lu vifuve foedum haec 
*' limina tangat intra quae puer efl." Let nothing bafe 
be feeii or heard within thele walls in v/hich a child is. 
And if children naturally form their fentiments, habits 



Education of Children, 25^ 

and manners, by imitation of others in general, how 
miicii more powerful muft be the example of parents, 
who are every hour in their fight, whom nature teaches 
them, and whom duty obHges them to love, and when 
it comes recommended by the continual intercourfe, and 
the endearing fervices that flow from that intimate re- 
lation. 

(4.) Laftly, parents are taught here, perfeverance and 
importunity in prayer. This, indeed, is an important 
thing upon every fuhje£l of our requefls to God. Our 
Saviour fpoke a parable on purpofe to teach men, that 
they fliould pray and not faint, Luke xviii. 1. And if 
we are called to believe, (hat " if we afe any thing agree- 
*' able to his will, he heareth us," what more agreeable 
to his will than frequent and importunate prayer for the 
temporal and fpiritual happinefs of children — What a 
fupport this to the faith of prayer. You ought, at the 
fame time, to remember that, as the prophet Jeremiah 
fays, " it is good for a man to hope and quietly to wait 
*' for the falvation of God." The anfvver of prayer may- 
come at a much greater dillance than we are apt to look 
for it. There is a remarkable anecdote handed down to 
us, refpedling the famous St. Auguftine. He was the fon 
of an eminently pious woman, whofe name was Monica, 
yet he was in his youth very loofe and diforderly. One 
of his fellow-citizens, it is faid, feeing him pafs along the 
llreet, refledled upon him with great feverity, as a dif- 
grace to fociety ; but another made anfwer, that he was 
not without hopes of him after all, for he thought it next to 
impoffible that the fon of fo many prayers fliouId perilh. — 
And we know, that in fa6t, he became in due time one of 
the moll eminent champions for evangelical truth. There 
is not the lead doubt that many prayers, and efpecially of 
this kind, may have their anfwer and accomplifliment 
after the believer that offered them has been many years 
peeping in the dud, 

2. The truths above illuftrated, fuggefl; important ad- 
vices to children, that is, to fuch young perfons as are 
able to underfland and apply them, (i.) Preferve a ten- 
4erjiefs of heart, and be thankful that you are jiot yet 



a6o On the Religions 

hardened by habitual guilt, nor fentenced to perpetual 
barrennefs by th&judgiTisnt of a righteous God. Elleem, 
embrace, improve the precious but flying feafon. Heark- 
en to the iiiftruftions of parents ; the admonitions of 
paRors, the lellbns of providence, and the diftates of 
God*s holy fpirit fpeaking by the confcience. Think of 
the amiablenefs of early piety in the fight of men ; and 
its acceptablenefs in the fight of God — " I love them that 
^' Igve me,'' lays he by his prophet ; " and they that feek 
*' me early fhall iind me." 

(2.) Be not fatisfied with, or truR in outward privile- 
ges, if you arc the children of pious parents, who have 
lived near to God ; if you have been favored with early 
^nftru^ion, unlefs thefe advantages are improved, the)' 
will not plead for, but againfl you, at the great day. 
This is the didate both of fcripture and reafon, " to 
*' whomfoev.cr much is given, of them much will be re- 
^' quired." There is a common faying, that is neither 
agreeable to truth nor experience, and yet fometimes 
obtains belief in a blitidtd world, that the children of 
good people are as bad as any : as if early education, 
which is of fo much influence in learning every thing 
elfe, Ihould have no eflett in religion. On the contrary, 
where do we exp:;cl: to find pious youth, but in pious 
families, or fober and induliilous youth, but in fober and 
jnduilrious families ? I fliould call that man prudent in 
the condutft of life, Vv'ho in the choice of a lervant, an 
apprentice, or a partner in bufinefs, would pay almoll 
as much attention to the blood and parentage, as to the 
perfcn wirh whom he was to be immediately connecled. 
But if u'e take notice of what prckibly gave occafion to 
the millake, viz. that the wicked children of pious par 
rents are the worlt of any, it is a truth of the utmofl mo- 
ment, and eafily accounted for. They burll afunder 
the fbongeit ties, they are under the unhappy necelfuy of 
malkriiig confcience by high-handed wickedncfs, and 
ppmmonly come to fpeedy and deferved ruin : " He th.it 
*•' being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, Ihall fuddcnly 
*' be dcftroyed, and that without remedy.'* 



Education of Children. 46t 

(3.) Do not fatisfy yourfelves with a name to live, while 
you are dead. Though fome young perfons religioufly 
educated, by falling into dilTolute fociety, become open 
profligates, there are others who retain the form without 
the life of religion : Therefore, if nature hath given yoa 
amiable difpofitions ; if thefe have been cultivated by a 
pious and prudent education ; if you feel the reftraint of 
natural confcience ; if you are defirous of public praife, 
or afraid of public fliame, do not neglect any of thefe pre- 
fervatives from fin ; but yet endeavor to obtain, and fee 
that you be governed by a principle fuperior to them all^ 
the hope of final acceptance with God through Chrift- 
Alk of him to give you a new heart, and a new fpirit, 
to " create you a-new in Chrift Jefus unto good works, 
•" which God hath before ordained, that we fhould walk in 
^' them." 

In the lad place, this fubjeCt fuggefls fome important 
in(l:ru6\Ions to the hearers of the gofpel in general, (i.) 
Lofe no time in providing for your great and befl intereft. 
Every argument that tends to fliew the importance of 
early piety, may be applied, with equal or greater force, 
to ihew the danger of delay in more advanced years. 
What is Vv'ife or amiable in youth, is neceffary to thofe 
who are nearer their journey's end. But confidering my- 
felf as fpeaking to profefiing Chrifdans, what I would 
earneflly advife you, is, to apply the principles above laid 
down, to particular purpofes, as well as to your general 
conduct. If confcience or providence has pointed out to 
you any thing that you may do tp advantage, either for 
yourfelves or others, lofe no time in fetting about it, be- 
caufe you do not know how little time may be yours : So 
fays the wife man, Ecc. ix. 10. " Whatfoever thy hand 
" findeth to do, do it with thy might ; for there is no 
'' work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wifdom, in the 
^' grave whither thou goelL" 

(2.) Do not forget the improvement of this fubjedl, 
which our Saviour himfelf has pointed out ; imitate the 
temper of children ; learn to be humble and teachable, 
gentle and eafy to be intreated. Both watch and pray 
againft all violent attachments, rude and boifterous paf- 



262 On the ReUglotis 

fions, and deep rooted refentment. Obferve how the 
little lambs lay down their refentment, and forget their 
quarrels. Under this particular, it is proper to recom- 
mend a decency of deportment, and a contempt of all 
vanity and affe6tation, as well as fimplicity and fmce- 
rity of fpeech, and a contempt of all artifice and re- 
finement. The apoftle has given an excellent defcrip- 
tion of this, 2 Cor. i. 12. " For our rejoicing is this, 
" the teftimony of our confcience, that in fimplicity 
" and godly fincerity, not with fleflily wifdom, but by 
" the grace of God, we have had our converfation in the 
*' ,world." 

(3.) Set a good example before others in general, but 
efpecially young perfons. The old rule, Max'wia de- 
helur pueris re'derentia^ ought to be pondered as well as 
recolle6led. It is of much importance what our vifible 
conduct is, at all times, and in all places, becaufe we 
continually contribute to form each others tempers and 
habits; but greater caution is neceflary in pre fence of 
young perfons, both becaufe they are mofl: prone to imi- 
tation, and becaufe they have the leall judgment to 
make proper difiinclions, or to refufe the evil, and choofe 
the good. Some infl.ances might be given, in which 
things might be faid or done, before perfons of full under- 
ilanding, without injury, that could not be done, with- 
out injury, or at leail without danger, before perfons in 
early life. 

(4.) In the lad place, be not wanting in your endea- 
vors and prayers for the public interell of religion, and 
the profperity of the Redeemer's kingdom. Support, by 
your condudl; and converfation, the public credit of reli- 
gion. — What is more powerful over the minds of men 
and the manners of the age, than public opinion ? It is 
more powerful than the mod Iknguinary laws. And 
what is public opinion ? It is formed by the fentiments 
that are moft frequently heard, and mod approved in 
converfation. Had we a ju(l fenfe of the importance of 
vifible religion, what a powerful principle would it be, 
of prudent, watchful, guarded condu6l, in every fcAte and 
circumRance of life ? HV'hatever reafon there m:iy be lq 



Education of Children* 2^3 

complain of the frequency of hypocrify, or feeking the 
applaufe of men, I am afraid there is no lefs reafon to 
complain of the want of attention to that precept of the 
apoftle, " Look not every man on his own things, but 
*' every man alfo on the things of others ;*' or of our 
Lord himfelf, Matt, v, 16. " Let your light fo ihine be- 
*' fore men, that they may fee your good works, and 
*' glorify your Father which is in heaven." I apprehend 
that thefe feemingly oppofite faults, are not always fepa- 
rated, but often found in the fame perfons ; that is to fay, 
there may be a llrong defire after, and endeavor to obtain 
public applaufe, by a few fplendid and popular a6lions, 
and yet but little attention to that prudent and exemplary 
conduft, which promotes public ufefulnefs. Gonfider 
what you have heard, and the Lord give you underlland- 
ing to improve and apply it, for Chrifl's fake. Amen, 



[ ^(>s ] 



DEVOTEDNES3 TO GOD. 

SERMON 32* 



iPsALM cxvi. i6. 

t)h Loi'd, truly I am thy servant ; I am thij servant^ and the 
son oft/line handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds > 



ACTION SERHO:V, 



My Brethren, 

THERE is fomething fo fervent and afFe£tionate in 
the language of the man after God's own heart, that 
it is extremely proper to be adopted by us in afts of ado- 
tation, truit, or fupplication to God. I am at a lofs to de- 
termine, whether we ought to confider the Chriiliaa's ac- 
Cefs to God, at his holy table, chiefly under one or other 
bf thefe views, I am inclined to think that it is a fort of 
compound or union of the whole — Veneration and wor- 
fliip of the eternal God, and the incarnate Redeemer, ex- 
hibited to us, and as it were brought near to us by the help 
of the inliituted figns : Reliance and confidence in God, 
from the opportunity given us of laying hold of his cove- 
nant : and thankful fupplication to God for his fupport 
and countenance, in the furrender of ourielves to his fer- 
vice. I cannot help looking upon the words of the Pfalm- 
ift in this pallage, as carrying in them a mixture of all 
.thefe holy affedicns. '' Oh Lord, truly I am thy fer- 
VoL. IL L 1 



%G(i Dewte chess to God. 

*' vant ; I am thy fervant, and the fon of thine hancimalJ. 
" Thou haft loofed my bonds : I will offer to thee the fa- 
" cnfice of thankfgiving, and will call upon the name of 
«' the Lord." 

This Pfalni, of which David is univerfally admitted to 
be the author, feems plainly to have been compofed after 
fome fignal deliverance, of which the remembrance was 
frefh upon his mind. It was fuch as had brought his life 
itfelf into the moft imminent danger. He acknowledges 
in the verfe preceding the text, the peculiar and gracious 
care which God takes of the life of his people : " Precious 
" in the fight of the Lord is the death of his faints;" and 
then makes the profeffion of relation, gratitude, and duty, 

contained in the words of the text. As they feem to 

me to be very comprehenfive, and with great propriety to 
exprefs what ought to be the habitual temper of a Chrif- 
tian, and the frame of fpirit with which a communicant 
ought to draw near to God at his table ; I fhall endeavor, 
in dependance on divine grace, 

L To open the import of the Pfalmift's declaration and 
purpofe. 

II. To apply it to you as hearers of the Gofpel in ge- 
neral, as well as with a view to the facred employment 
immediately before you. 

Firfl-, then, I propofe to open the import of the Pfalmift's 
declaration and purpofe in the text. This I think may 
be included in the following particulars, to which I intreat 
your ferious attention. 

I. This expreffion of the king of Ifrael, implies a very 
bumble fenfeof his diftance from, and dependance upon 
God, as his creature. This is the firft view which a peni- 
tent hath of himfelf when he returns to God. It is the 
firft view which a good man hath of hiuilelf in his ap- 
proaches to or communion with God. And indeed it is 
what ought to be infeparable from the exercife of every 
other pious afle61;ion. To have as it were high and ho- 
norable thoughts of the majefty and greatnefs of the living 
God, and a deep and awful impreihon of the immediate 
and continual prefence of the heart-fearching God — this 



Dewtedness to God. 267 

naturally produces the greateft felf-abafement, and the 
mod unfeigned fubjeSlion of fplrit, before our Maker. It 
leads to a confeflion of him as Lord over all, and having 
the moli: abfolute right not only to the obedience, but to 
the difpofal of all his creatures. I cannot help thinking 
this is conveyed to us in the language of the Pfalmift, 
when he fays, " O Lord, truly I am thy fervant." He 
was a prince among his fubje(3:s, and had many other ho- 
norable dilUndions, both natural ami acquired, among 
men ; but he was fenfible of his being a fervant and fub- 
je<^ of the King of kings ; and the force of his expreffion, 
*' truly l am thy fervant," not only fignifies the certainty 
of the thing, but how deeply and llrongiy he then felt a 
conviction of its truth. 

Suffer me to fay, my brethren, that there is much more 
in this, than many apprehend. The fcripLure fpeaks often 
of the knowledge of God, of a difcovery of the glory of 
God, as a thing peculiar to his people, which is very dif- 
ferent from merely fpeculative opinions as to his nature 
and perfedtions. It implies an awful impreffion of his 
power and greatnefs, a deep fenfe how little the creature is 
before him, and how entirely it is in his hand. I love 
that expreffion ufed by feveral pious writers of the lafl: age, 
of bowing before the fovereignty of God. When a be- 
liever or a worfliipper hath a proper view of this ; v/hen it 
is brought home upon his Ipirit ; it as it were banilhes all 
other things, all other relations, all other perfons ; and he 
is, to his apprehenfion, alone in the prefence of the invi- 
fible God. And then what abafement of foul is of necef- 
fity produced ! then no language can be found fufficient 
to exprefs his vilenefs and nothingnefs in his own fight. 
He may be a rich man among his poor neighbors, or a 
great man among his numerous attendants, or a learned 
man among the ignorant vulgar ; but alas, he is no more 
than finful dud and afhes before the omnipotent Jehovah; 
There is fomething very magnificent in the defcription 
given by the prophet Ifaiah of the majefty of God, and 
the correfpondent fentiments of thofe who fee and feel it, 
in the 2d chapter of his prophecies, verfe 10, 11. '* En- 
" ter into the rock, and hide thee in the dull, for fear of 



268 Dewtedness to God. 

" the Lord, and for the glory of his Maje{l3^ The lofiy 
*' looks of man fliall be humbled, and the haughtinefs of 
" men fliall be bowed down, and the Lord alone fliall be 
*' exulted in that day." And again, verfes 19, 20, 21, 22. 
*' And they Ihall go into the holes of the rocks, and into 
*' the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the 
" glory of his majefty, when he arifeih to fhake terribly 
*' the earth. In that diy a n;an fiK-dl cafl his idols of fil- 
" ver, and his idols of gold, which they made, each one 
" for himfclf to worfliip, to the moles and to the bats : to 
" go into the clefrs of the rocks, and into the tops of the 
" ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of 
*' his majei'l}-, when he arifeth to fliake terribly the earth. 
" Ceafe ye from man, whofe breath is in his nollrils : 
*' for wherein is he to be accounted of?" 

2. This declaration of the Pfalmill implies a confef- 
fion of his being bound by particular covenant and con- 
fent unto God, and a repetition of the fame by a new ad- 
herence. This, as it was certainly true with regard to him, 
having often dedicated himfclf to God, io I take it to be 
concluded on the reiteration of the exprtfr.on here, " Oh 
" Lord, truly I am thy fervant, 1 am thy fervant." As 
if he had faid, ' Oh Lord, it is undeniable; it is impof- 

* fible to recede from it. I am tliine by many ties. I am 

* by nature thy fubjedl and thy creature ; and I have many 

* times coafeiled thy right, and promifed my own dity.' 
I need not mention to you, either the examples in the 
Pfalmifl's writings, or the occaiions in his ^liRory, on 
which he folemnly furrendered himfclf to Cod. It is fuf- 
ficient to fay, that it was very proper that he fliculd fre- 
querxtly call this to mind, and conl'efs it before God, as 
what, though it could not make his Creator's right any 
ftronger, wv-^uld certainly niLke the guilu of his own vio- 
lation of it, fo much the greater. It Vv^as certainly alfo a 
repetition of thofe engagements, and a folcmn promife of 
continued adherence to them. There is no appearance 
in his language, that he either regrets or repents his fub- 
jetSlion to God; on the contrary, he manifells his delibe- 
rate approbation of it, as his interefl as well as duty. 
What he hyz lierc to C^od, has fomething of the fame 



Dewtechiess to God. 269 

meaning with what he fays elfewhere to liIs own foul. Pfa. 
jivi. 2. *' O my foul, thou had faid unto the Lord, thou art 
" my Lord." And he afterwards expredcs the greateft 
complacency in this choice, verfes 5, 6, of the above 
Pfalm, "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, 
" and my cup ; thou maintainefl: my lot. The lines are 
" fallen unto me in pleallmt places ; yea, I have a goodly 
" heritage." 

I take it to be very natural for pious perfons to look 
back upon their former engagements to God. It is a part 
of the worfiiip they ovv'e to him, not only to glorify him 
as God, but to adhere to him as their God. It comes in 
with propriety as a part of confeffion, of praife, and of ho- 
ly refolution. It humbles the fpirit under a fenfe of fin, 
as a breach of promife, as well as duty. It is matter of 
praife that we have been inclined and enabled to give our- 
lelves to God, according to the beautiful fentiment of Da- 
vid, who gives thanks to God, that he and his people had 
been enabled to make fuch free and liberal contributions 
to the building of the Temple, i Chron. xxix. 13, 14. 
" Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praife th}'- 
" glorious name. But who am I, and v/hatis my people, 
" that we fliould be able to ofier fo willingly after this 
" fort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have 
*' we given thee." It is alfo plainly a part of ournev/ 
engagement, which is no more than a ratification of what 
we have often and willingly done before. 

3. This declaration of the Pfalmift is an exprefilion of 
his peculiar and fpecial relation to God, " I am thy fer- 
" vant and the fon of thine handmaid." There is ano- 
ther pafiage of his writings, where the fame exprefilon oc- 
curs, Pfal. Ixxxvi. 16. '■'• O turn unto me, and have mer- 
*' cy upon me, give thy firength unto thy fervant, and fave 
*' the fon .of thine handmaid." There is fome variation 
indeed among interpreters in the way of illufirating this 
phrafe. Some take it for a figurative way of affirming 
that he was bound in the flrongeft manner to God, as 
thofe children who were born, of a maid-fervant, and born 
in his own houfe, are in the molt abfolute manner his 
property. Others take it to fignify his being not only 



27® Dewteclness to God, 

brought up in a vifible church of God, but in a pious fami- 
ly, and educated in his fear ; and others would have it to 
Cgnify ftill more efpecially, that the Pfahnift's mother was 
an eminently pious woman. And indeed I do not think 
that was a circumitance, if true, either unworthy of him 
to remember, or of the fpirit of God to put upon record. 
In the New Tellament, we find the apollle Paul, taking 
notice of a fimilar circumftance in the cafe of Timothy, 
7 Tim. i. <?. "When I call to remembrance the unfeicrn- 
*' ed faith that is in thee, &c." Without determining 
precifely in what fenfe to take the words, it is certainly 
added here to fignify fome peculiar and intimate relation 
to God, which laid him under the Ilrongefl ties of adlie- 
rence and fubjeciion. 

As riiere was much beauty and propriety in the Pfalm- 
ifts mentioning this circumftance, fo every pious perfon 
ought efpecially in the Lord's fupper, to recolledl the pe- 
cufcar relations he Hands under to God. Even as mem- 
bers of the vifible church we are the fervants of God, born 
in his houfe, baptized in his name, favored with the light 
of the gofpel, blefled with clearnefs and fullnefs of inilruc- 
tion, animated by eminent and Ihining examples. As 
many as have been brought up either as children or fer- 
vants in pious families, feparated from the folicitarions, 
and Iheltered from the infults of wicked men ; careful in- 
ftruflion, regular government, faithful admonition and 
kind invitation, laid as it were a llrift and powerful con- 
ftraint upon them, brought them into, and kept them in 
the paths of piety and truth : ought they not to remem- 
ber it with humility and gratitude, nay, if by means of but 
one pious parent, or other relation, had been brought to 
acquaintance u'ith God, it ought to be remembered as lay- 
ing them under peculiar ties. To all which I fhall only 
add, that if by the goodnefs of a gracious God, any former 
means of inftruclion, public or private, or fingular difpen- 
fation of providence, lias been accompanied with power, 
it ought to be improved in this new furrender of ourfelves 
to God, at once to increafe our prefent gratitude aiid pro- 
mote our future lledfaftnefs in the p.uhs of obedience. — 
This leads me to obfcrve, 



De^otedness to Gcd. »7< 

4« That the declaration of the Pfalmifl implies a fenfo 
of gratitude for fignal mercies, ''Thou haft loofed my 
" bonds." I think it is probable that what he had in viesV 
immediately here was, deliverance from perfonal affliction, 
probably a dangerous ficknels, tlireatening immediate dif- 
foiution. But the way in which it is introduced and the 
ufe to which it is applied, is equally fuited to deliverances 
of every kind and ufe, to all fignal mercies which were 
greatly needed or highly prized. He afcribes the honor 
of it to God, he puts it to his own charge as a debt due to 
God, and on this account propofes a return of duty and 
gratitude to God. It were no difficult matter to produce 
examples of a fimilar condudt in the Pfalmifl, on his being 
favored with remarkable deliverances in his family, from 
the enemies of his country, from flander and reproach, 
or in unexpe6led honor and advancement, as was his- 
from the fl^ieepfold to the kingdom of Ifrael. 

Now ought not every good m.an, to follov^^ the exam- 
ple of the Pfalmift in this particular, to remember and ac- 
knowledge all inftances of fignal mercy. There is fcarce-- 
ly any perfon, but may recoUeft feveral examples of thefe 
in the courfe of their lives. They may remember how 
earneftly they defired deliverance in the time of danger^ 
what a fenfe of gratitude was upon their minds, when the. 
mercy was recent, and this may be profitably improved, 
for ftrengthening the ties which they lie under to God their 
Saviour. This will have a double efFe£t, if the deliverance 
was implored by the prayer of faith, and if any marks can 
be difcerned, of their having obtained the fanclified im- 
provement of it. But above all, with what propriety may 
they adopt the language of the Plalmift, if they have been 
delivered from bondage of fpirit, as well as fear and foli- 
citude as to their outward ftate. And it frequently hap- 
pens, that thefe two go together. It was almoft always fo 
with the Pfalmift, and is natural to expert that it will be 
fo with every ferious perfon ; for affliction brings fin to 
remembrance, and they not only tremble, for the ilTue of 
the trial under which they groan, but apprehend the holy 
difpleafure of that God, who caft them into the furnace, 
and with whom they have to do. But if the candle of the 



jjya , JDemtcdncss to God. 

Lord again flilneth upon them, and they are walking in 
the light of his countenance, they may well fay with the 
PfaliTiifl, " O Lord, truly I am thy I'ervant, I am thy fer- 
" vant, and the fon of thy hand-maid: thou hall loofed 
" my bonds." 

5. In the lad place. This declaration implies a folemn 
dedication and furrender of himfelf to God, and his fervice 
for the time to come. This is the end of the retrofpeft 
which he takes of his charailer and ftate, " I will ofler to 
" thee the facrince of thankfgiving, and will call upon the 
** name of the Lord." He was refolved to live a life of 
gratitude to God, to take all methods of openly and pub- 
licly acknowledging him as the author of his mercies. If 
we would fee further his purpofe, we may look back to 
the 8, 9, 10, v5r. " For thou had delivered my foul from 
*' death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.'* 
He promifes therefore a life of obedience, and as the fource 
of thankful trull and acquiefcence in God, he feems by 
the nth verfe, to have been difconcerted by difcovering 
the treachery of men, but every thing is re£liiied and made 
up by the goodnefs and all-fuiTiciency of God. 

So my brethren, ought every perfon who is this day td 
fit down at the table of the Lord, after a ferious recolledion 
of all his pad mercies, to devote and conftcrate himfelf 
unto God. Take him for your portion: place your hap- 
pinefs in his favor ; receive your daily bread from him as 
his gift; pay for every mercy the tribute of praife ; live not 
upon the creature without God, but endeavor to enrich 
and fweeten created comforts, by communion with God : 
Refolve to ferve him with your body and Ipirir which are 
his, ferve him lincerely, refolving that nothing Ihall have 
quiet poffeflion of your heart, or indulgence in your l^fe^ 
that is contrary to his will. Serve him will"! zeal, elpoufe 
his intered, plead his caufe, and edeem it your honor, if 
by your authority, by your talents, by your fubdanc-?, you 
can promote his glory. Put your trad ui his provider.cCi 
You are yet in the body, liable to all the v;riff}:udes 0' this 
mortal ilate. Be perfuaded of the infinite wifdom and all- 
fudiciency of God. Let liim difpofe of you freely. Refill 
exceflive anxiety and fear, and oppofe to all the gloomy 



Dewtedness to God. 273 

iorrors of a frnltful apprehenfion, the fliield of faith in 
ahiiighty llrength, which is able to bear 3-ou up fuperior 
to every trial, and to every enemy. Do in every ilate of 
difficulty as the prophet liaiah, in the name of God, in- 
vites the peopic of Ifrael to do on the approach of public 
jud^aiient, Ifaiah xxvi. 20. " Come, my people, enter 
*' thou into thy chambers, and Ihut thy doors about thee : 
" hide thyfelf as it were for a little moment, until the in- 
*' dignation be overnaft." . , . ■ 

, } proceed now in the lafl: place, to make feme pradical 
improyernent of this fubjeft, 

I. Suikr me, my brethren, to plead with every fmner; 
to plead with every hearer in this affenibly, the right oi 
his Maker to his fervice. He hath made and formed you, 
and his vifitation pref^^rves your fpiritG. He only holdeth 
your foul in life, and unto him oelong the ifTue from death 
.;— Of him, and to him, and through him, are all things. 
Have you therefore ferved him as your mafter, and placed 
your happinefs on his favors'. I choofe, my brethren, to 
affrit God's dominion over his creatures, that if it pleafe 
iiim to accompany it with his fpirit, it may carry convic- 
tion to many who are living in quiet and felf-fati,sfa6lion, 
although they are dead in trefpafies and fnis. Many, if 
they are free from groifer corruptions, are no way appre- 
beiifive of the danger of being without God in the world. 
Ignorance of chenifclvtjs, extenuation of fm, fooliflily 
placing a merit in a few common, outude duties, and pre- 
fumptuous hopes in God's general mercy, are thedelufive 
grounds of the hope of fuch perfons. Nay, fometimes, 
alas for their folly ! the chief thing they have to trufi: to, is 
the ill tliai thev have not iVmt. I really do not fwear, 
fays one, I hate drinking abominably, it is a beaflly vice. 
What fignify thcfe partial jullihcations? 1 have known, 
though it is not common, 1 confeis, an habitual adulterer 
fhat would not fwear, and I could fliew you a covetous 
hard hearted wretch, grinding every day the faces ot the 
poor, that will neither drink nor fwear. But are you the 
fervants of God ? are you devoted to his fear ? beheve it 
firs, there is an abfolute neceflity of an entire change in 
your nature, to fit you for the kingdon^ cf God. You are 

Vol. II. Mm' 



274 Devotedness to God, 

his creatures, you ought to be his fervants, and in one 
fenfe indeed his enemies are his fervants, becaufe they are 
under the dominion of his Providence, and Ihall at lad be 
the monuments of his vengeance. Be warned tlien in 
time, for you may reft affured that no man hath hardened 
himfelf againft him, and profpered. 

2. But in the next place, 1 muft not omit giving war^ 
ning of their danger, to fuch as are living in open and 
avowed profanity. They are fo far from being the fer- 
vants of God, that they are his enemies, his confederated 
enemies, and the enemies of every thing that ftands in 
a vifible relation to him. I will once more, my brethren, 
take the liberty to denounce the judgment of God, againft 
all fuch perfons, and I am preaching the gofpel of Chrift 
while I am doing fo, for he fhall be revealed from heaven 
in flaming fire. And all profane fvvearers that fpeak the 
language of hell on earth, fliall have it as their abode for 
ever. All defpifers of the fabbath of reft. — — 



C ^75 ] 



Thk righteous scarcely saved, and the 
wicked certainly destroyed. 



SERMON 33. 



I Peter iv. i8. 

And if the righteous scarcely be saved, xvhere shall the un^ 
godly and the sinner appear ? 



ALL mankind may be divided into two great clafTes, 
the righteous and the wicked, the friends and the 
enemies of God, the heirs of glory and the heirs of hell. 
Thefe, though mixed together on earth, and in many cafes 
not eafiiy to be diftinguilhed by men, are yet eflentially 
different in their chara£lers, and fhall at laft meet with a 
very different fate. Of how much moment would it be 
for every one to fee his own character and Hate before the 
final feparation, when the judge lliall divide them, one 
from the other, as a Ihepherd divideth the flieep from the 
goats ! 

There are many awful tokens of divine juftice and 
holinefs in the adminiftration of Providence, which ought 
to be confidered by us, as preludes to the great day of re- 
tribution, when God fhall render to every man, accord- 
ing to his works. The apoftle Peter, in the verfes pre- 
ceding the text, is fpeaking of the divine judgments which 
were coming upon that generation, and which were in 



276 The Righteous scarcely Saved ^ i^c, 

part,, to fall even upon the church and people of God. — 
From this he takes qccafion to point out the infinitely 
greater danger of impenitent fmners, who were expofed, 
not only to the fame or heavier temporal ftrokes, but to a 
final and eternal d-flruftion, verfe 17, "For the time is 
*' come that judgment mull begin at the houfe of God : 
" and if it firlt begin at us, v.hat fhall the end be of them 
" that obey not the gofpel of God r" Confidering alio that 
God in righteous feveriiy, fees it neceffary to make even 
his own people to pafs through the furnace, and through 
much tribulation, to enter into the kingdon) of God, he 
inflitutcs the comparifon in the text, to point out the dread- 
fid Hate of the finally impenitent ; "And if the riglkeous 
" fcarcely be faved, where fhall the ungodly and the fin- 
" ner appear ?" 

In difcourfing farther upon this fubjeft, what I pro- 
pofe is, 

I. To explain the import of the declaration, or fuppo- 
fition, in the firfl part of the text, that "the righteous 
" fcarcely are faved." 

II. To confidcr the conclufion drawn from it, by the 
apoiile, "vvhere fhall the ungodly and the finner appear ?'* 

III. I fhall make a pra6tical improvement of the fub- 
je6t for your iriitrudtion and direction. 

In the firfi place then, I am to explain the import of 
the declaration, orfuppofiuon, in the tiill part of the text, 
that "the righteous are fcarcely faved." There is the 
greater necelfity of this, d:at the expreilion is both firong 
and fingular. There are many paflages indeed, that car- 
ry in them truths akin to it, and Ibundel upon it; but 
the fentiment itlelf, is almoll peculiar to this pallage, that 
" the riirl'.teouG are fcarcely faved." There are feme, who 
fuppofethat the exprefiion is borrowed from, or alludes to 
Prov. xi. 31. "Behold, the righteous Ihali be recomperifccj 
"in the earth: much more tne v.dcked and the rainer." 
The meaning they give thus: Kven the righteous muft 
expetl to meet with fufferings and calamities on earth, 
much more, wicked men, under jhe juil difpleafure of i;i 
holy God. But 1 think it is plain, that the apoftle in our 



^Jje Righteous scarcely Sauced, i3*c, 277 

text, lias an eye to the decifive judgment of the lafl day ; 
for he fays in the preceding verfe, " What fhall the end be 
," of them, that obey not the gofpel of God," It is no 
where faid in fcripture, that wicked men faall be punifh- 
ed intlie prefent life, in a manner fully adequate to their 
guilt, much lefs that a jufl; and vifible proportion is to be 
obferved between their lUfFerings and thofe of the fervants 
of God. On the contrary, they are called the men of the 
world ; it is faid, they have their part and portion in this 
life, and their profperity, compared with the trials and 
fufferings of good men, appears to have been in everj' age 
a fource of temptation to the children of God. 

V/e muft therefore undcrfland the apoflle, as fpeaking 
of the eternal flate, both of the rigliteous and the wicked, 
in the correfpondent parts of this paflage. What then is 
the meaning of the righteous being fcarcely faved ? It 
cannot mean that there is any defeft or flraitnefs in the 
mercy of God. The invitation to fmners in the gofjiel, 
is not only urgent, but full, free, and infinitely gracious. 
It cannot mean that there is any defe6l in the mind or 
power of our Redeemer, as if the fecurity of thofe who 
put their trull in him were to be doubted, or their vidlory 
over all the enemies of their falvation were uncertain. 
To affix any Rich meaning to the words, would be to fet 
them in direft oppofition to many other paflages of fcrip- 
ture, and to do the greatefl: injury to the divine wifdom and 
truth. In order therefore, to open the import of this in- 
terelling declaration, you may obferve the following things: 

I. The righteous may be faid to be fcarcely faved, be- 
caufe all are juiWy liable to divine vengeance, and it is 
only of the free grace, and fovereign mercy of God, that 
any are faved. This, my brethren, is a truth of the great- 
eft moment, repeated in almod: every page of the facred 
oracles, but which none can either underfland or approve, 
till they are effectually humbled by the fpirit of God. 
It is however, the fiini and fabftance of the gofpel. See 
in what terms it is defcribed by the apoflle Paiil, Eph. ii. 
4 — 10. "But Gcj, wiio is rich in mercy, for his great 
*' love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead 
I' in fms, hath quickened us together with Chrift: {by 



27^ ^hc Righteous scarcely Saved^ ^c. 

^* grace ye are faved) and hath raifed us up together, and 
»* made us fit together in heavenly places in Chrift Jefus. 
*•* That in the ages to come he might fhevv the exceeding 
" riches of his grace, in his kindnefs tov/ard us, through 
*' Chrid Jefus. For by grace are ye faved through faith; 
*' and that not of yourfelves; it is the gift of God : Not 
" of works, left any man fliould boafl: : For we are his 
" workmanfliip, created in Chrift Jefus unto good works, 
" which God hath before ordained that we ihould walk in 
*' them." There is not a believer on earth, nor a faint 
in heaven, but wlio is ready to acknowledge, that he was 
by nature an enemy to God in his mind by wicked works; 
that he had highly provoked him, and that if God had 
dealt with him in ftri£t juftice, he would have been for 
ever banift^ed from his prefence and enjoyment. Proba- 
bly many vvill recoUett the time of their ignorance and 
fecurity, and admire the patience of God towards them, 
and fee that they are indeed fcarcely faved, fmce they 
have been brought back from the very brink of deftruQion, 
If any malefadlor had been arraigned, judged and con- 
demned to die, and after apprehending the juft punifhr 
inent of his crime, fliould be faved by an a61: of royal 
clemency, at a ftake or on a fcaffold, would he not con- 
fider himfelf as fcarcely faved. But this is no more than 
a juft image of the ftate and views of a pardoned fmner, 
^nd what vvill continue to be the views of thofe who have 
entered into reft. They are clothed with white robes, as 
an emblem, not of innocence, but abfolution, and the 
fong of praife which they fmg, intimates the conditio^ 
from which they were brought, Rev. v. 9. " Thou art 
'■^ worthy to take the book, and to open the feals thereof: 
«' for thou waft flain, and haft redeemed us to God by thy 
" blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, 
" and nation ;" verfe 12. *' Wordiy is the lamb that was 
*' flain, to receive power, and riches, and wifdom, an^i 
" ftrcngth, and honor, and glory, and blefting." 

This leads me to obfervc, that as their falvation is of 
fovereign grace in the Father's love, fo it was purchafed 
by the moft amazing fufterings of their Redeemer in their 
rpom. They are fcarcely faved, not only horn the want 



*rhe Righteous scarcely Sailed^ tsV. 279 

of merit in themfelves, but from the infinite expence and 
coft laid out by him for their redemption. Such was the 
evil of fin, and fo deplorable the ilate of the linner, that 
the wifdom, truth, and holinefs of God, fecmed all to de- 
mand his perdition. The whole creation could not fur- 
nifii a fufficient ranfom ; for the redemption of the foul 
was precious, and it ceafed forever. Then the eternal 
Son of God, clothed with infinite mercy, and conveyed 
in fovereign power, prefented himfelf as our Redeemer, 
faying, " Lo, I come," &c. Oh, amazing truth ! Oh, un- 
fearchablc fubjed ! Juftly may we fay, that the righteous 
fcarcely are faved, fmce it required fo coftly an expiation. 
Let us remember in faith, what our Saviour endured in 
the garden and on the crofs, before he could fay it was 
finiftied ; and we fhall be conftrained to confefs that it 
was no eafy undertaking to redeem thofe fouls that were 
forfeited to divine juftice. 

To conclude this particular, the righteous are fcarcely 
faved, becaufe the application of this redemption to their 
fouls, and their being brought to an unfeigned acceptance 
of it, required the almighty power and energy of the fpirit 
of grace. This alfo is a part of that revealed truth,- which 
the natural man hears with reludance, and cannot re- 
ceive. Yet it is not only plainly taught in fcripture* 
but daily ratified in experience. John i. 13. "Which 
*' were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flefli, nor 
" of the will of man, but of God." Without the potver. 
of the holy Ghort, the gofpel may be preached to fmners 
from day to day, and from year to year, and yet they fhall 
continue in their natural and miferable ftate. 

It is the work of the fpirit to open the blinded under- 
ftanding, to awaken the fecure and dozing confcience, 
and to bend the llubborn will to the obedience of the gof- 
pel. We are alfo plainly given to underfland, that if a 
fniner long refills the motions of the Spirit, the confe- 
quence, in the economy of providence, is frequently that 
this divine agent departs from him, and ceafes any longer 
to ftrive with him. Every fuch perfon is left to himfelf, 
given up to the dominion of his lufts, and the enflaving 
power of habit ; and io fills up the meafure of his inic^ui- 



28o 779^ Righteous scarcely Saved, &?<r. 

ties, till he is ripe for final judgment and deflructlon.' 
Let us feverally confider, that if fuch provifion was made 
by an all-wife God, for die recovery of fuch of his crea- 
tures as had fallen by their iniquity, it could not be un- 
neceflary. And furely the whole of thefc views confpire in 
oi)ening the meaning and confirming the truth of what we 
are told in this paflage, that the righteous are fcarcely faved. 

2. The righteous may be faid to be fcarcely faved, be- 
caiife their number is bnt very fmall. There are few that be 
laved in compr.rifon of thofe that perifh, and in compari- 
fon of thofe that feek and pretend to hope fcr falvation. 

This, if It be a truth, is certainly pregnant with mean- 
ings and deeply interefting. I know there are fonle who 
have no great love to any thing that direclly tends to dif- 
turb the repofe of a drowfy flothful fpirit, v/ho are tond of 
denying or calling in queflion this truth. They allege 
that our Saviour evaded it as an improper queftion, wiieri 
propofed to him by his difciples. Luke xiii. 23. " Then 
*' faid one unto him. Lord, are there few that be faved r'* 
But truly I cannot fee hou- he could have anfv.ered it more 
plainly, or indeed more properly, than in ilie following^ 
words, " Strive to enter in at the lirait gate : for many, I 
*' fay unto you, will feck to enter in, and fliall not be able." 
F.fpecialiy if we conipare them with the parallel place in 
Matth. vii. 13. " Enier ye in at the firait gate : lor wide 
" is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to deilruc- 
*^ tion, and many there be which go in thereat." 

"What mall be the number of the redeemed at laft, and 
what propoilion it fliall bear to the whole race of Adam, 
before the end of this iUite of things, it is inipofiible for us 
to know. It is pleafant to indulge the hope that it (hall be 
very great, and that there art times }eL to come, when the 
profpcrity of the Redeemer's kingdom fliali be glorious, 
and the triumphs of his grace perhaps univerfal. But 
when we jpeak of the number of fuch as iliall be faved, 
we fnult fpeak of it as relating to ihofe whom u'e now I'ee,^ 
and their characters as drawn in the oracles of truth. And 
furely if we p:)}' the leall regard to the marks of religion 
laid down in fcripture, we mnfi: be fcnfible what muki- 
t«des are living in dirc6l oppolition to them, and that there 



The Righteous scarcely Saved^ ^c, 281 

are many, who though they are called by the name of 
Chrift, and maintain fome degree of outward profeffion, 
yet they are far from being Chriltians in deed and in truth. 
Matth. vii, 21. " Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, 
*' Lord, Ihall enter into the kingdom of heaven : but he 
" that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." 
3. When the apolUe fays that the righteous fcarcely are 
faved, it may mean that many make not only a common 
but an eminent profeflion of religion, who yet ftiall be 
found finally defective, when Weighed in the balance of 
the fanftuary. It may mean, that not only the ungodly 
and openly profane finners fliall be rejedled, but that all 
who feem to be righteous fliall not be found fo upon trial. 
This feems to lead us to confider the difference between 
the charitable, general,- and uncertain judgment of man, 
and the llrift, infallible, and decifive judgment of God. 
This is beautifully reprefented by our Saviour, in the para- 
ble of the tares of the field, Matth. xiii. 24, and onwards ; 
but you may particularly lee what is faid from the 28th 
verfe, " The fervants faid unto him, wilt thou then that 
*' we go and gather them up? But he faid, nay, left while 
*' ye gather up the tares, ye root up alfo the wheat with 
•' them. Let both grow together until the harveil ; and 
" in the time of harvefi: I will fay to the reapers, gather 
*^ yc together firfl the tares, and bind them in bundles to 
** burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.'' 

There is a circunillance to be particularly attended to 
here, that not only fliall many deceive their fellow crea- 
tures by a falfe profeffion, but not a few fliall more effectu- 
ally and more fatally deceive themfclves, faying they fliall 
have peace though they walk after the imagination of their 
own hearts. There are many exhortations in fcripture, to 
guard againO: deceiving ourfelves; of which I fliall only 
mention one. Gal. iv. 7. "Be not deceived; God is not 
"mocked: for whatfoever a man foweth, that fhall he 
*' alfo reap." If our Saviour found it neceffary to fay to 
the twelve whom he had chofen, '■'■ Ye know not what 
*' manner of fpirit ye are of;" much more may the lame 
thing be faid to numbers of profeffing Chriftians in thefe 
lad days. There are many fins that may adhere to a reli- 
VoL. XL N n 



282 The Righteous scarcely Sai)ed^ <yc. 

glous profefiion, or be covered with a facred veil, which 
yet are inconfiflent with true religion. See what the 
apoflle Paul fays, i Cor. xiii. i. *' Though I fpeak with 
*' the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, 
*' I am become as founding brafs, or a tinkling cymbal. "^ 
And the apoftle James i. 26. " If any man among you 
** feem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but 
" deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."' 
It is an awful defcription given us by our Saviour, Matth. 
vii. 22. " Many will fay to me in that day. Lord, Lord, 
*' have we not prophefied in thy name ? And in thy 
*'■ name have call out devils ? And in thy name done 
*' many wonderful v/orks ? And then will I profefs unto 
*' then), I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work 
" iniquity.'* 

I fliall only add one evidence, with which experience 
furniflies us, that even in an eminent profeffion there may 
be at bottom no fincerity. There never was a time of 
trial in the church by perfecution, but there were feveral 
of the mofl eminent in fiation, gifts and profeflion, who 
were guilty of apoRacy ; a fure evidence that they were 
not found in the faith, and a great lefl'on of humiliation 
and caution to us. True religion bears all trials, and it 
?s only he that endureth to the end that fliall be faved. 
It is highly probable, that the apoUle had this very thing 
m view, in the pafTage where my text lies ; for in the 
preceding verfe, he had been animating them to fujRer as 
Chrillians, and concludes in the following verfe thus, 
" V/herefore let them that fuffer, according to the v/ill of 
" God, commit the keeping of their fouls to him in well- 
** doing as unto a faithful Creator." 

4. In the lad place the righteous are fc arcely faved, be- 
caufe thofe who are faved, ihall be faved with much diffi- 
culty. That is to fay, it will require the utmoll exertion 
of their care and vigilance. They ma)^ expert a conti- 
nual conflict v/ith temptations and trials from without, 
and the fiirrings of corruptions from within. There is 
Bothing more contrary to the fcripture view of our chrilli- 
an courfe, than to fui-)pofe it a ihite of uiimoleiied quiet, 
feGurity and indulgence. It is reprefented to us by every 



The Righteous scarcely Sa'ued^ bV. 283 

-image that carrlec in it the idea of oppofition, activity and 
vigilance. It is ftriving, Matth. vii. 13. "Enter ye in at 

" the ftraight gate : for wide is the gate, and broad is the 
*' way, that leadeth to deflru6tion, and many there be 
•*' which go in thereat :" It is contending in a race, Hcb. 
xii. 1. "Wherefore, feeing we ahb are compafled about 
'^ with fo great a cloud of witnelTes, let us lay afide every 
*' weight, and the fin which doth fo eafily befet us, and 
" let us run with patience the race that is fct before us." 
It is fighting, I Tim. vi. 12. "Fight the good fight of 
*' faith," and it is reprefented as incelTant labor, Phil. ii. 
12. " Work out your own falvation with fear and treai- 
'' bling." 

Indeed when we confider from what, and how many 
quarters, we mud expeci oppofition, this truth will appear 
with the fuUefl: evidence. Confider the implacable jiatred 
of the great adverfary, the reproach and injuries of wicked 
men, their itill more pernicious example and folicitation, 
iheallurementsof the world, in this fenfible ftate, and the 
treachery and deceitfulnefs of our own hearts. Of the 
great danger of all thefe we have the grealeit reafon to be 
.convinced from the confeffion and teftimony of thofe who 
have gone before us; yet over them all the believer mull 
obtain the victory, and Ihall obtain it in liis Redeemer's 
flrength. 1 John v. 4. " For whatfoever is born of God 
" overcometh tiie world: and this is the vit!lory that over- 
" Cometh the world, even our faith." 

There is nothing here faid contrary to what the fcrip- 
ture informs us, of the peace and confolation that attends 
the practice of true religion. It is not faid to difcourage 
the believer ; but to put him on his guard, and to warn 
him not to miRake the nature and foundation of that peace 
he is entitled to exped. It does not confill in a n^gledl 
of his enemies, far lefs in a confederacy with, or fubje^tir 
on to them, but in the allured profpeCl, and growing evi- 
dence of his victory over them. Further, the inward con- 
folation of a Chriilian does not confiftin thinking light of 
fill, by excufing it, or jullifyincr hinifelf by denying it; but 
in unfeigned felf-denial, a willingnefs to fee the evil of 
fiq, and taking fliame to himfelf by conielling it^ together 



284 7he liighteous scarcely Saved^ ^c, 

with evangelical views of divine mercy in the pardon of 
it, and the promifed llrength of divine grace to enable 
hiiTi to refifl; and fubdue it. 

II. I proceed now to the fecond thing propofed, which 
was to confider the inference drawn in the lafl part of the 
verfe, " where fliall the ungodly and the Tinner appear ?" 
I need fcarcely tell you, that the form of a queflion ufed 
here, is a very common figure of fpeech to fignify their 
dreadful fituation. This jufl but very awful inference, is 
intended for the terror of thofe who live in open ungodli- 
nefs, and avowed contempt of divine inercy. • Perhaps it 
may be proper from the context, to confider a little the 
time when the vvficked fhall be expofed to this terrible 
danger: and then the import of the threatening itlelf. As 
to the time when the difference is to appear, it may be, 

1. In a time of public calamity, or any remarkable vi- 
fitation of divine fe verity. Such a time is (lercribed, Luke 
xxi. 25, 26. " There fliall be upon the earth diftrefs of 
*' nations, widi perplexity ; the lea ai;,:! the wives roar- 
*' ing; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking 
" after thofe things which are comin-.; on the earth ; for 
" the powers of heaven fhall be fhaken." Then the con- 
science of the mod obdurate is ibmetirnes alarn.'jd. 1 am 
fenfible, and I have formerly hinted, that good hjcn have 
no charter of exemption from outward fulTerinj^s. But in 
thefe times of general trial, the difference between them 
and others is very great. They have an anclior of hcpe 
in the fiivor of a reconciled, and in the wifdou) and provi- 
dence of an omnipotent God. But the profane and un- 
godly, terrified by the reproaches of a guilty confcience, 
are made to tremble, through fear of the execution of de- 
ferved judgment. 

2. In a time of perfonal diftrefs, and apparent danger 
♦"-death. Tliis important change is no light matter, even 
t J the beff. They have often no fmall degree of folicitude 
and fear, as to the manner of going through this laft and 
decifive conflict. But how much more fearful an afpe<5l 
mult the king of terrors wear, to the impenitent finner ? 
when the charm is diOblved, and all his fmful pleafures 
are turned into worm-wood and ^all; when he lees he 



The Righteous scarcely Smed, ^c, 285 

mufl bid an eternal farewell to every fenfual delight, en- 
ter into a world of fpirits, and appear in the prefence of 
God. Bur, 

3. Both thefe are only preparatory to the day of judg- 
ment, " For we muft all appear before the judgment-feat 
*' of Chrift." Then his people (hall lift up their heads with 
joy, for the day of their redemption has arrived. But 
with what inexpreffible confufion fliall the wicked then 
be covered ? In vain fhall they call upon the mountains 
and hills to cover them from the wrath of the Lamb. 
Now they affront his perfon, oppofe his reign, refill his 
f[:)irit, and fcorn his fervants. But where fhall they ap- 
pear, and what will they do, when the " Lord Jefus fhall 
*' be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking ven- 
*' geance on diem that know not God, and obey not the 
" gofpel ?" 

This leads me more particularly to confider the import 
of the inference in the text, " If the righteous fcarcely be 
" faved, where fliall the ungodly and the finner appear ?'* 
And I think it plainly carries in it three things, that from 
the holinefs and feverity of God, and the righteous fcarcely 
being laved, we may learn the certainty, the greatnefs, 
and the jiiftice of the punifiiment of impenitent fmners. 

I. The certainty of it. That as the threatenings arc 
awful, the execution Ihall be inevitable. Men are ex- 
ceedingly prone, from partiality to themfelves, and from 
the fuggeliions of the father of lies, to diibelieve the 
threatenings as well as the promifes of God. This was a 
^reat part of the temptation to the commifTion of the firft 
fm, Gen. iii. 4. " And the ferpent faid unto the woman, 
*' ye fliall not furely die." And- the credit that was given 
to it at that time, has been continaed^by finners in every 
fubfequent age. They are ready to prefume upon the 
general goodnefs of God, and to flatter themfelves that 
his threatenings fliall be either wholly remitted or greatly 
abated. We find that fome men of corrupt minds have 
even fet themfelves to reafon againfl; the rigor of the fcrip- 
ture denunciations againil fin, and the eternal punilh- 
ment of finners. 



286 The Righteous scarcely Saved^ i^c. 

But how fatal the delufion ? The truth of God is an 
infeparable bar to this deceitful expedalion. If. iii. lo, 
II. " Say ye to the righteous, that it fliall be well with 
" him ; for they fliall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe 
** unto the wicked! it fliall be ill with him ; for the re- 
" ward of his hands fhall be given him." Pf. 1. 21, 22» 
*' Thefe things haft thou done, and I kept filence : thou 
*' thoughteft that I was altogether fuch an one as thyfelf: 
** but I will reprove thee, and fet them in order before 
" thine eyes. Now confider this, ye that forget God, left 
" 1 tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." Nay, 
not only is this aflerted in the word of God, but the whole 
procedure of divine Providence ferves to confirm it. If 
the falvation of the righteous is v/ith difHculty obtained; 
if their redemption is fo dearly purchafed ; if Chrift muft 
bleed before they can be forgiven ; how fliall the ungodly 
be able to ftand in the judgment ! If even the fervantsof 
God muft be expofed to ib many fufferings in the day of 
trial, what muft be the condition of his enemies in the 
day of retribution ? If even the fins of the holy muft be 
vifited, how fhall the crimes of the impenitent pafs unpu- 
niflied ? This is plainly one part of the truth contained 
in this paflage ; and whoever will deliberately confider 
the uniform tenor of the holy fcriptures, and compare it 
with the difpenfations of divine Providence, will have 
reafon to tremble at the dreadful ftate of incorrigible fin- 
iiers, and to fay with the apoftle Raul, Heb. xii. 25. " See 
*' that ye refufe not him that fpeaketh. For if they el- 
" caped not who refufed him that fpake on earth, much 
" more fhall not we efcape, if we turn away from him 
V that fpeaketh from heaven." 

2. The exprefTion in the text implies the greatnefs of 
the puniftiment of finners. It is indeed, my brethren, 
every where reprefented in fcripture in fuch terms, as 
ferve to convey to us the moft dreadful apprehenfions of 
its weight, as well as the detpeft convidion of its certainty. 
It is reprefented as the blacknefs of darknefs forever, and 
as a worm that fliall never die. But the image moft com- 
monly ufed is fire, which is the moft terrible to Icnfe, of 
all tlij elements we have any l^nowledge of. It is a lake 



The Righteous scarcely ^anied^ ^c. 287 

that burns with fire and brimfione for evermore. With- 
out entering at all into the queftion, how much is literal, 
and how much figurative in thefe images, the juit conclu- 
fion from them is, that thofe who fhall be the final mo- 
numents of divine vengeance, fliall be in a (late forrowful 
and comfortlefs as darknefs, painful as a gnawing worm, 
and dreadful as fire. 

This is alfo manifeftly founded on the refledlion in the 
text, " if the righteous are fcarcely faved :" if they fufFer 
fo much at prefent by divine permiffion ; if they fuffer fo 
much by the perfecution of the ungodly, what a load of 
vengeance awaits the wicked in the day of reckoning, 
when he will recompenfe tribulation to the troublers of his 
chofen ? If there is fo much holy feverity neceffary on ac- 
count of fin even in the prefent life, which is the time of 
divine forbearance, even towards the children of God, 
who are the objefts of his everlafling love, what fhall be 
the ftate of thofe who have out- finned the feafon of his grace, 
and forfeited all title to his mercy, on whom he intends at 
once to glorify his juilice, and to magnify his power. 
Hear the words of the Holy Gholl 2 Theif. i. 9. " Who 
" fliall be puniflied v/iih everlafling dellrudlion from the 
*' prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power," 

3. The expreffion in the text, implies the juilice of the 
punifhmcnt of finners. This is a circumflance always 
to be taken in, for at the laft day he lliall judge the world 
in righteoufnefs by that man, whom he hath ordained. 
He fliall judge the world in righteoufnefs and the people 
with his truth. This is a circumflance not only for the 
illuftration of the glory of God, but for the manifellation 
of the prefent truth. If the punifliment of fii.ners were not 
juff, it could not be great; if it were not known and felt 
by themfelves to be juft, it would not be intolerable. 



[ =89 ] 



THE YOKE OF CHRIST. 

SERMON 34. 



Matthew xi. 30. 
Por 7ny yoki is easy, and my burden h light. 



A CLEAR view of divine truth is of the utmofl mo- 
ment, both to the holinefs and comfort of the chil- 
dren of God. They are fanftified by the truth. It is no 
lefs necefiary, by manifeftation of the truth, to turn 
finners from the error of their ways ; for the word of God 
is quick and powerful. While we keep thefe things in 
view, we ought alfo to remember, that the truths of God 
are injured, not only by oppofition, but perverfion. We 
are adured that thofe who are unlearned and unliable, 
wrell this good word of God to their Own deftrufticn. If 
this is the cafe, it follows naturally, that as the bait is 
mod dangerous, when the hook is moll effectually conceal- 
ed ; fo falfliood will be moll apt to infinuate itftlf, when 
it wears the habit, and has the greateft refemblance to 
real truth. 

The reafon of my uHng this introdu6lion to what fhall 
be offered on the text now read, is, that it is one of the 
paffages moll frequently, and mofl artfully perverted, or 
mod unhappily mifiipplied. It contains a mofl important 
and falutary truth, if taken In its proper meaning, and 
according to the analogy of faith. But as it is wrelltd and 

Vol. II. O 



2go T/je Tokc of Christ. 

perverted by men of corrupt minds, it is often made to 
convey a lUipifying and dangerous poifon. What more 
important, than to deiiroy the unjull accufations of the 
father of lies, as if religion were a heavy and infupporta- 
ble burden ? But if, on the other hand, the fame thing is 
made ute of to {q\y pillows for all armholes, and fing the 
finner afleep in fecurity, it is equally dtitrudlive. There- 
fore, in difcourfing of this fubje6\, through the affillance 
of divine grace, I v/ill endeavor, 

I. To fliow you what you are not to fuppofe, implied 
in this declaration of our I^rd, '' My yoke is eafy, and 
" my burden light/' 

IL What is its true and proper meaning, and! 

III. In the Idit place, to apply the fubje6t. 

Firft, then, I am to (how }-ou what you are not to fup'- 
pofe implied in this declaration of our Lord, " My yoke is 
*' eafy, and my burden light." On this, I bel'eech you 
to attend to the following obfervations. 

I. When our Saviour fays, " My yoke is eafy, a-nd 
" my burden light," you are not to fuppofe that he has 
narrowed the extent, or iveakened the obligation of the 
law of God. There are fome who fpeak in fuch tern)S, 
as iFthey thought that Ghriil had granted fome licenfe and 
indulgence to human corruption ; that he had abated the 
leverity of the law, and would not be (o highly offended 
by the tranlgreffion of it. Eecaufe we are taught that he 
hath redeenied us from the eurfe of the law, or the rigor of 
its fantVion as a covenant of works, they fpeak as if they 
thought, or at lead fo as to lead others to think, that lie 
hath made void the obligation of it as a rule of duly. But 
the law of God is jx;rfe6\, eternal, and unchangeable. It is 
a tranfcript of his own nature, which he will not, or which, 
I fpeak it with reverence, he cannot difpenfe with. The 
ftripture exprefsly fays, that he cannot deny himfclf. 

Now our blcffed Lord himfelf has told us upon this fub- 
jedl, Malth. v. 17, 18. '' Tiiink not that I am come to de- 
" liroy the lav/ or the pro])hets : I am not come to deltroy, 
"but to fulfil. For verily I fciy unto you, till heaven 
** and earth pafs, one jot or one title Ihall in no wife 



The Yoke of Christ, 291 

*' pafs from the law, till all be fulfilled." Agreeably to this, 
he hath been fo far from narrowing the extent of the law, 
that he hath afierted its honor, vindicated it from the falfe 
glofCes and ioofe interpretation of the Sofibes and PharJT, 
fees ; and pointed out its fpirituality and influence upon 
the confcience and heart. See feveral inftances of this iri 
the above cited chapter, particularly verfcs 21, 22, and 
27, 28. " Ye have heard that it was faid by them of old 
•' time, Thou flialt not kill : and, whofoever ihall kill, 
" fliall be in danger of the jud!2;ment: But I fay unto you, 
*' that whofoever is angry with his brother without a cawfe, 
" fhall be in danger of the judgment; and whofoever flialj 
*' fay to his brother, Raca, Ihail be in danger of the coun- 
" oil : but whofoever fhall fay, thou fool, ihall be in dan- 
" ger of hell-fire. Ye have heard that it was faid by theni 
" of old time, Thou fhalt not commit adultery : but 1 fay 
*' unto you, that whofoever looketh on a woman to lull 
*' after her, hath committed adultery with her already in 
« his heart." How dillant is this from relaxation, or 
from modifying and accommodating the law to the cor- 
ruptions of men ! And as to the obligation of the law, no- 
tliing is more clear, than that our Saviour has not taken 
from, but added to it in many ways. He has added to it 
by the clearnefs of the difcovery v/hich he hath made of the 
divine nature and will ; by the moll glorious difplay of 
divine mercy through him ; and as a juft and neceflary 
confequence, by the awful threatenings which he hath de- 
nounced againil thofe who fiiall continue to defpife the 
grace of the gofpel. Hebrews ii. 2, 3. "For if the word 
*' fpoken by angels was fiedfafl, and every tranfgrelnon 
" and difobedience received a juft recompence of reward ; 
" how fiiall we efcape if we neglecl fo great falvation, 
" which at the firft began to be fpoken by the Lord, and 
" was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ?" And 
the fame epiflle, ch. x. verfes 26, 27, 28, 29, "For if we 
" fin wilfully after that we have received the knowledr^e 
*' of the truth, there remaineth no moi-e facrifice for fin^s, 
*' but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery 
" indignation, which fliall devour the adverfaries. He 
" ihat defpifed Mofes' law, died without mercy under two 



292 The Toke of Christ. 

" or three witnefTes: of how muchforer punifliment, fup- 
" pofe ye, fhall he be thought worthy, who hath troddtn 
" under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood 
'' of the covenant, wherewith he was fanftified z\\ unholy 
" thinjT, and hath done defpite unto the Spirit of grace r'* 
2. When our Saviour fays, " iny yoke is eafy, and 
" my burden is light,'* you are not to fuppof^ he means to 
fay that real, and acceptable obedience to the law of God, 
is an eafy thing to men, as they are in thenifelves, or in a 
finful and unrenewed (late. Oh, fay fouie, the gofpel is 
a humane and gentle difpenfation, the fame does not bear 
hard upon human weaknefs. It we fhould make him to 
iay this, my brethren, we fliould make him to I'peak in 
dire61 oppofition to many other palfages of fcripture, as 
well as to daily experience, and the nature and reafon of 
the thing. Men may if they pleafe, create to themfelves 
an image of religion, that fliall be quite gentle and pliant, 
that fhall have nothing in it offenlive to corrupt nature, or 
at any time oppofed to tlie manners of fafhionable life; but 
nothing can be more diflant from New-Tellatrient truth. 
There we are told that, Rom. viii. 7, 8, " Becaufe the 
*' carnal mind is enmity againll God; for it is not fubjedl 
*' to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they 
*' that are in the flelh, cannot pleafe God." There wc 
are told, that men are by nature dead in trefpaffes and 
fins, that their recovery is the work of omnipotence, even 
the mighty ponuer of God^ and that none can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean, but God alone. But why fliould 
we multiply paflages of fcripture to this purpofe, when 
it is manifeft from the nature of the thing and di^ily ex- 
perience? If it were eafy in this ii:nk to put on Chrift's 
yoke, it would alfo be common. Is not the prevalence 
of wickednefs a proof to the contrary ? Can any thing be 
more oppofite than fin and holinefs f None. Not even 
light and darknefs. Can any man then ferve two mailers? 
Is it an eafy thing to love fm, and pradlife holinefs ? Do 
we fee it is fo in any inllance ? Do we reckon it is eafy for 
the drunkard to deny his appetite, Vv'Jien he fees the liquor 
giving its colour in the cup, and moving itfelf aright ? 
Is it eafy for the malicious perfpn to govern his tongue, or 



The Take of Christ , 293 

the covetous man to open his heart ? Tlie truth is, it is a 
direft contradi6lion, for the law of the Lord fearche^, and 
chiefly requires the obedience of the heart; and therefore 
to fuppofe, or imagine that the generahty of men, who 
are under the dominion of fm, may notvvithftandiqg keep 
the commandments of God, is an abfurdity wliich we 
would not be guilty of, in any other fubjt:6t. Either, fays 
our Saviour, " make the tree good and his fruit good ;" 
&c. " Can a fountain fend out at the fame place, {wttt. 
*' water and bitter ?" 

3. When our Saviour fays *' my yoke is eafy, and my 
*' burden is light," you are not to fuppofe, that it is an ealy 
or trilling thing, or what the fmner may do at any time 
by his own (Irength, to turn from fm to God. Nothing 
can be a more pernicious or a more llupifying dofe to a 
poor carelefs fmner, than to make him fuppofe that he 
r.iay eafily at any time repent, when neceflity fliall urge 
him to it. The whole fyilem of divine truth Hands in 
diredl oppofuion to this error. There our condition by 
nature is confidered as not only miferable, but helplefs. 
It is divine power alone that can effect the change, John 
vi. 44. " No man can come to me, except the Father, 
" which hath fent me, draw him : and I will raife him 
'' up at the lad: day." Pfal. ex. 3. " Thy people fhall be 
" willing in the day of thy power." The greatnefs of the 
change necelfary to Advalion demonlirates the fame thing, 
John iii, 3. " Verily, verily I fay unto thee, except a man 
*•' be born again, he carmoc fee the kingdom of God." — 
The multitudes that perifli is a further proof. " Strive to 
" enter in at the ftrait gate," &c. To this may be added 
the dAngrir of delay, and the hardening power of habit as 
frequently mentioned in fcripture, Eccles. xii. i. " Re- 
" member now thy Creator, in the days of thy youth, 
"• wh.ile the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, 
'' when thou Ihalt fay, 1 have no pleafure in them. Can 
" the Ethiopian change his flcin, or the Leopard his fpots? 
" then may ye alfo, who are accuilomed to do evil, learn 
*' to do well." To crown the whole, there are inltances 
in which the day of God's patience, and forbearance is 
clofed, and the fmners eyes fliall not be opened on his 



394 The To ke of Christ. 

clanger, Luke xix. 41, 42. "And when be was come 
** near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If 
*' thou hadfi: known, even thou, at lead in this thy day, 
*' the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they 
" are hid from thine eyes." 2 Thell'. ii. 11. " For this 
^' caufe God fliall fend them llrong delufion, that they 
'* fliould believe a lie." 

4. When Ghrill fays, "my yokeiseafy, and my burden 
*' is li^ht," we are not to fuppofe that even the children 
of God fliall meet with no difficullies in their way. It 
feems to be the miflake of fome perfons to think that fo 
foon as they have truly embraced the gofpel, and obtained 
peace with God, the conHirt is over, they fliall have an 
eafy and flothful affurance, without oppofition either from 
affli61:ion or temptation. But this is quite contrary to 
what the fcripture teaches toexpetl. It teaches us to lay our 
account with oppofition from every quarter, injury from 
without and even treachery from within. The life of a 
chriftian muft. be a life of vigilance and prayer. Outward 
peace, ill founded peace, a fecure unfaithful confcience, 
is what we have the greateft reafon to dread. Thefe are 
hard fayings in tlie gofpel, which even the children of God 
find it difficult to receive. We are expofed to continual 
temptation from the v/orld and from worldly men, and to 
frequent trials both as we are men and chriltians, Heb. 
xii. 5. " And ye have forgotten the exhortation, which 
" fpeaketh unto you as unto children, my fon, defplfe not 
" thou the chaltening of the Lord, nor faint when ihou art 
" rebuked of him :" In the chrillian warfitre there is no 
truce. It is only he that (hall endure to the end that 
Ihall befaved — The la(l enemy that fliall be dellroyed, is 
death. 

Having thns rejecled thefe falfe and miflaken apprehen- 
fions fometimes fuggelled by this paffage of fcripture, and 
greatly encouraged by fmooth and mollifying teachers, it 
remains, that I ihould proceed to point out the true and 
proper meaning of it, and what we are to underfland 
when the Redeemer invites finners to come to him, by 
faying, '* my yoke is eafy and my burden is light. " And 
becaufe there are iijany things pertaining to this fubje(^, 



The Toke of Christ* 295 

that throw light upon each other, I fhall endeavor to take 
in the whole compafs of it, making however the illuftra- 
tion of each particular very (hort. 

I. The yoke of Chrill may be faid to be eafy, and his 
burden light, becaufe his right to command is undeniable; 
the authority with which he is invelled is complete and 
full. I have placed this firfl, becaufe it lies at the founda- 
tion of all religion, and is nothing elfe but the fupreme 
authority and abfolute dominion of Jehovah. We all na- 
turally think it hard to fubmit to ufurped authority, or un- 
jufl dominion ; but when the title to command is clear, 
obedience immediately appears to be reai'onable and ne- 
ceifary, and becomes our unfeigned choice, or the defire 
of the heart. Thus, nothing can be more clear than the 
right of our Maker to tlie obedience and fubmiflion of all 
his creatures. It is the fenfe of this carried home upon 
the confcience, that gives the firll rife to convidlion of fin. 
A difcovery of the power and majefty of the living God, 
lays the creature in the duft, and produces fubje£lion. But 
when to this is added, that he is Lord and proprietor of 
all; that all things were made by him, and for him, then 
fin appears in the light of injuflice and rebellion, and obe- 
dience, abfolute and unconditional, is felt to be his due. 
Believe it my brethren, when the revolted creature re- 
turns to his allegiance ; when the convinced fmner fees 
the guilt of his rebellion, it at once reconciles him to the 
law, and makes him willing to put on the yoke. 

The fame thing is a conliant and growing principle 
of obedience to the believer. He fees that he is not his 
own. He perceives and admits his Creator's and Re- 
deemer's right. He is convinced, that as all things were 
made for, as ail things fhall finally tend to, fo that every 
intelligent creature ought fupremely to aim at the glory of 
God. It is this radical principle that chiefly conflitutes 
the difference between genuine obedience, and that con- 
flrained fervice which may be fometimes falfely fo called. 
Hence it is that true obedience is confidered as a debt that 
is due to God ; falfe obedience on the contrary is confT- 
dered as a debt charged upon God. The real chrillian is 
happy in fo far as he is able to obey, and fmcerely grieves 



296 The Yoke of Christ. 

for any remaining backwardnefs and reludance in hi;? 
mind. The yoke may well be faid to be eafy, when he 
is brought to that temper and difpofition, that it is not 
what he does, but wliat he omits, that fills him with grief, 
or covers him with fhame. 

2. The Redeemer's yoke is eafy and his burden light, 
becaufe all his commands are in themfelves perfectly juft 
and right. It is hard indeed, to be obliged to do what we 
cannot approve, and h long as the finner has any objec- 
tion againft the law, obedience muft be a burden. But 
every renewed mind obtains a difcovery of the infinite 
amiablenefs of the divine nature, and the excellence and 
perfe6lion of the divine law. The law is holy, fays the 
Apollle, Romans 7. " AVherefore the law is holy, and 
*' the commandment holy, and jufl and good." The law 
of God is a tranfcript of his own infinite excellence, and 
therefore muft be perfect and faultlefs. We may take up 
this matter in a very fimple, and at the fame time clear 
and confpicuous point of view. The fum of the moral 
law is, *' Thou flialt love," &c. The whole is contained 
under thefe heads, efpecially the firft of them, from which 
the other is a corollary. Is therq any thing more mani- 
fcftly reafonable, than that we (hould love fupremely, what 
is fupremely excellent ? or where is the rival, that can 
plead a better title to our affe6lion ? If he hath command- 
ed us to love what was not amiable, or to do what was 
not reafonable, there would have been ground for com- 
plaint. If we take the fenfe of the fecond table, by itfelf, 
we fhall fee the fame thing very plainly, '' Thou ihalt 
•' love thy neighbor as thyfelf;" or which is the fame thing, 
" whatfoever ye would, that men do unto you, do ye the 
** fime unto them." Is this nnreafonable ? Is any man's 
reafon fo perverted, or his confcience {q depraved, ns to 
complain of this, as an unjuft, or oppreOive law. There 
are fome who talk upon this fubjc6t, in fuch a manner, as 
we may truly fay of them, with tiie apollle, "They fpeak 
*' of the law, and know neither what they fay, nor where- 
" of they affirm;" and they will fay, our Saviour has 
made merciful abatements of the law. Pray has he made' 
any abatement of the love of God, and of our neighbor ? 



The Yolte of Chvht, 297 

Would ytiu be fatisfied to hear any man trace out a fyRem 
of moral duty, and make any alteration in thefe ? Yet 
they are the whole in fubflance ; wherever thefe are, eve- 
ry thing will follow of courfe. If you love God fupremely, 
and your neighbor as yourfelves, you will negledl no duty 
to the one or to the other. 

When I am upon this branch of the fubjeft, the rea- 
fonablenefs of God's commands, it will be proper to obvi- 
ate an apparent, and at the fame time, an important ob- 
jetlion. You will perhaps fay, to keep the commands 
of God, is above our power. Have not }ou yourfelf, 
often taught us, that no mere man in this liiei is able per", 
feftly to keep the commandments of God ? Can that be 
reafonable then that is inipoffible? Now confider I pray 
you what fort of impofTibility this is. It is wqX. natural^ 
but moral. It is not want of pov/er, but want of inclina- 
tion. Nothing is required of us, that is unfuitable to our 
fituation, or above our natural powers ; lb far IVom it, that 
even what was our duty before, if by any accident it be- 
comes impoffible in this fenfe, it ceafes to be a duty. God 
no where commands you to be taller or ftronger, than hs 
lias made you : and though he commands you to labor, 
working with vour hands, if he confines you by Hcknefs^ 
this duty no longer binds. He has given you facultiesj 
and natural powers for every thing that he requires. Are 
not all your powers, both of mind and body, as fit for 
your Maker's fervice, as any other purpofe ? Is not the 
tongue as fit to fpeak truth, as falihood : and every mem- 
ber of the body as fit to do what is lawful or iifeful, as 
what is finful or hurtful : The commands of God, then, 
are neither impoflible or difficult to thofe, who are willing 
to obey them. No man can fay with truth, that he defired 
witii all his heart, to do his Maker's will, and could not* 
But perhaps fome will fay, this indifpofition itfelf, is my 
nature, I cannot lielp it. It any think this excufe may be 
offered to God, let him firll make trial of offering it to his 
fellow creature ; or fuppofe another to offer it to himfelf. 
Suppofe you flmuld complain of another, lor iteaiing your 
fubltince, or blalling your name, or otherwife injuring 
you ; and that he fliould anfwer, that he could not help it. 

Vol. II. P p 



298 The Toke of Christ* 

What, you would fay, you could not help it ; what necef- 
fity obliged you ? Why fays he, it was my nature, becaufe 
I hate you, and it grieves me to fee you profper. Would 
that be accepted as an excufe ? I think not ; for it is the 
very efTcnce of the injury. On the whole, it plainly ap- 
pears, that the commands of God are all reafonable and 
jull, neither can they fuffer any abatement, without in- 
fringing upon the holinefs of his own nature, and the wif- 
dom and equity of his government itfelf. 

3. The Redeemer's yoke is eafy, and his burden light, 
becaufe all his commands have an immediate and direct 
tendency to promote our own comfort and happinefs. 
They are not lefs reafonable as they exprefs the right of 
the Creator, than they are gracious, as they are calculated 
to promote the intereil of the creature. I do not mean 
here, only or chiefly, the great reward which he hath in 
mercy provided and promil'ed to thofe, that keep them, 
but that in their own nature, they are fitted to promote 
our happinefs. 

I have before fufficiently taken notice, that we are not 
to underftand, by keeping the commands of God, a con- 
jlrained outward obedience, without the inclination of the 
heart. Conflrained obedience, I confefs, is neither ac 
ceptable to God, nor delightful to man. But when the 
fervice of God, is chofen from the heart, it is both delight- 
ful and profitable in all refpedls. If we examine the mat- 
ter with care, we fliall find, that true religion confifts in 
the exercife of the moft noble and grateful affeftions of 
mind, or rather the one leading difpofition, which when 
rightly dired^ed as to its objcQ, makes the fum of religion, 
and is alfo the fource of felicity. It is love, fupreme love 
to God, and through him, and for him, to all his crea- 
tures, that is the fum of religion, and muft not every bo- 
dy be fenfible, that this is a temper and frame of mind, 
much more defirable, than its oppofite. Carry the one 
and the other, through all their branches and exprefl^ions, 
?in(\ fee if they will bear the comparifon. From love fpring 
thankful nefs, contentment, fubmilHon, benevolence, be- 
neficence, meeknefs, compaffion, forgivenefs ; and from 
Jiatved fpi-ing ambition, rage, impatience, malevolence, 



The Toh of Christ. 299 

envy, revenge and cruelty. If there were no law of God 
at all, which of thofe tribes of affe6lions is mod defirable of 
itfelf, or moft conducive to our inward comfort and peace ? 

If we try this matter by experience, let us aik the 
children of God, whether they have found his fervice 
burdenfome; whether they would exchange a meek, 
thankful, and contented frame of I'pirit, for the llorms of 
rage, envy, or ambition. Do they look with a jealous or 
envious eye, on the liberty of wicked men ? on the con- 
trary, they would not exchange with any of them, a prifon 
for a palace, or a fcaffold for a throne. Perhaps, though 
there is great blindnefs in the underftanding itfelf, of wick- 
ed men, we may learn the truth even from their experi- 
ence and confelfions. We many times hear them ac- 
knowledge their bondage ; and when they do not expli- 
citly acknowledge it, yet it is eafy to perceive it. You 
never hear a bad man taking comfort to himfelf, from the 
evil he has done, but fometimes comparatively from the 
greater evil that they have not done. Without going par- 
ticularly through every minute circumflance, letusjuft 
fay in general, that whether we confider the inward tem- 
per, or the outward practice, our relations, bufinefs, and 
enjoyments in life, or hope for futurity, we cannot in 
any inftance depart from the commandments of God, 
without at the fame time a£ling contrary to our own ma- 
nifeft intcreft : fo that Wifdom fays with great truth and 
juflice, Prov. viii. 36. " He that finneth againft me, 
" wrongeth his own foul : all they that hate me, love 
*' death." 

4. The Redeemer's yoke is eafy, and his burden light, 
becaufe he has given the mofl free and gracious invita- 
tion to finners to return to God. By his fufFeririgs he 
purchafed their pardon, and is invefled with full authority 
to negociate peace. " Thus it is written, and thus it be- 
" hoved him to fuffer, that repentance and remiflion of 
" fins/* &.C. What we are particularly to remember up- 
on this fubjeSl is, that the invitation is without referve or 
exception, to all of every character, however deep and ag- 
gravated their offences. If. i. 18. *' Come now, and let 
** us reafon together, faith the Lord : though your fins bs 



300 The Toke of Christ. 

" as fcarlet, they fhall be as white as fiiow; though they. 
*'bered like crimfon, they fliall be as wool." i Tim. i, 
15. " This is a faithful faying, and worthy of all accep- 
" tation, that Chrifl Jefus came into the world to fave fin- 
" ners; of whom I am chief." The offer is alfo free as to 
the terms, without any cofily or meriting condition. Ifa. 
Iv. I. ''Ho every one thatthirfteth, conse ye to the waters, 
" and he that halh no money ; come ye, buy and eat ; 
*' yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and 
," without price." Rev. :sxii. 17. " And the fpirit and 
" the bride f;y, come; and let him that heareth fay, come; 
" and let him that is athirll come ; and whofoever will, 
" let him take the water of life freely." Can there be any 
thing more encouraging than thefe gracious invitations ? 
Here it is that we ought to take in the wife and happy con- 
flitution of the Redeemer's pcrfon, as the fon of man, as 
well as the fon of God, and the meeknels and gentlenefs 
of his difpofition, this was prophefied of him of old, Ifaiah 
xlii. 1,2,3. " Behold my fervant whom I uphold ; mine 
" eleft, in whom my foul delighteth: I have put my fpirit 
*• upon him, he fliall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 
** He ihall not cry, nor lift up, nor caufe his voice to be 
*' heard in the flreet. A bruifed reed fliall he not break ; 
•' and the fmoaking flax Ihall he not quench : he fliall 
" bring forth judgment unto truth." This was beautiful- 
ly and admirably fulfilled by his appearance in the flefh, 
by the meannefs of his birth, though not of his parentage, 
by the poverty and felf-denial of his life, by the meeknefs 
and lowlinefs of his carriage, not only through life, but 
in the lall and fuflering llage of it ; for he endured the 
contraditlion of fmners againft himfelf ; when he was re- 
viled, he reviled not again. So that he might with the 
greatefl juflice fay as in the context, take my yoke. 

5. The Redeemer's yoke is eafy, and his burden light, 
becaufe he hath made abundant provifion of divine 
flrength, to enable us to keep his commandments. How 
gracious thefe laws, when the law-giver communicates 
ftrength for performance ? This takes away all objedtion, 
and removes every difhculty. What is impoffihle with 
man, is poflible with God. There is no heart fo hard, but 



The Toke of Ch'ist. 3®i 

omnipotence is able to foften it ; no temper fo depraved, 
but the Creator is able to renew it. The converfion of 
a linner is always confidered in fcripture as the work of 
God. "God who alfirfl: commanded the light to fliine out 
" of darknefs," &c. The promife of the new covenant 
is thus defcribed by Ezekiel xxxvi. 25. " Then will I 
*' fprinkle clean water upon you, and ye fhall be clean : 
" from all your filthinefs, and from all your idols, will I 
*' cleanfe you." And in the New Teftament, faith which 
unites us to Chrill, and every other good difpofition, is 
reprefented as the gift of God, Eph. ii. 8. " For by grace 
*' are ye faved, through faith ; and that not of yourfclves; 
" it is the gift of God." 

And as the converfion of fmners to the daily growth of 
the fpiritual life, in believers, is to be imputed entirely to 
the fame caufe, for this end it was, that it pleafed the Fa- 
ther that all fullnefs fliould dwell in Chrifi;; and we have 
this tellimony from the apollle John i. 16. " And of his 
" fulnefs have all we received, and grace for grace." — 



[ 303 3 



The glory of the REDEEMER in the PERPETUITY 
OF HIS WORK. 

SERMON 35. 



Psalm Ixxii. 17. 

Bis name shall endure forever : his name shall be continued as 
long as the sun : and men shall be blessed in him ; all nati' 
ons shall call him blessed. 

ACTION SERMON. 

My Brethren, 

THE whole fyftem of Providence and grace was fixed 
in the eternal purpofe of God, before the foundation 
of the world. Hence he is reprefented, If. xlvi. 10.^ as, 
♦' declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient 
" times the things that are not yet done, faying. My coun- 
" fel (hall ftand, and I will do all my pleafure." The 
writings of the Old Teftament give us the hiftory of the 
fevcral openings of this plan, during that difpenfation, in 
which we may obferve almoft continual references to the 
appearance of an illuftrious perfon, at a certain important 
period, called the fulnefs of time. 

The appearance of the Saviour in our nature, including 
his obedience, his fufferings and death, his triumphant 
refurreftion and afcenfion, was an event fo aibnilhing 



364 ^hc Glory of the Redeemer 

in itfelf, and fo great in itsefFefts, as being the means ap- 
pointed ot God for the redemption of a loft world, that we 
need not be furprifed at the great care taken in the Old 
Teftament church, to keep it always in view. It was 
natural for holy and good men, who had fo many intima- 
tions given them of it, to think on it with pleafure ; and 
when they were led to fpeak of future times, to bring in 
this remarkable period, and mention it with rapture. — 
And when God infjjired his fervants to prophely of the 
profperity and happinefs of his church and kingdom, he 
could not fail to raife their defcriptions, and lead them 
to give fuch views of things as were fuitable to that great 
event, which was to be fuch a fignal illuftration of his glo- 
rious goodnefs, and fo great a blefling to mankind. 

Hence it is, that we find feveral prophecies begun, in 
appearance, to celebrate fome public bkffing, at or near 
the times in which they were delivered, gradually fo 
heightened by leveral expre/Tions, as we may perceive- 
that in their full extent they could only relate to the times 
of the Mefiiah. Such, for inftance, is that in my text: 
for if we lay together the accounts we have of Solomon, 
in fcripture, and the felicity of his reign ; if we remem- 
ber the fcandalous fteps he made in the latter part of his 
life, the dreadful rent that happened in the reign of his 
Ion and immediate fucceffor ; and that after the courfe of 
a lew ages, Judah was carried into captivity — we mull bs 
fenfjble, that the expreffions in my text, are by far too 
much exalted, if nothing elfe was intended by them. But 
if we confider them as relating to Mefliah the Prince, then 
we fee every thing literally fulfilled to the utmoll imjjort 
and extent of the prophetic language, " His name Ihall 
" endure forever : his name Ibali be continued as long as 
" the fun : and men fhall be blefltd in him; all nations 
'' iliall call him bluffed." 

It is below the majt-fly of the fcriptures, to make ufc of 
ilrong and lofty expreffions to denote a very common and 
ordinary event, to which thev cannot be applied without 
making great abatements. '^I'his is a fault men often fall 
into ; but it would be very unjud to impute it to perfons 
fpcaking under the immediate inlluencc of the Spirit of 



in the Perpetuity of bis J'Fork. 305 

C5od; We may therefore Jay it d<?:\\vi as one good rule 
for underftanding the prophetic writings, that whenever 
they rife far above the fubjedt they were treating of, into 
exprefiions literally applicable to the Mtfiiah, and which, 
in their full extent, can belong to none but him, he is to 
be confidered as chiefly in the view of the Spirit of God. 
Now, this being the cafe with my text, as I hope appears 
fufficiently froni what has been already faid, I fhall conf- 
der it as a noble and animated prophecy of the glory of his 
reign; which will be the more proper introdudion to this 
day's work, as what we are now to be employed about is 
an eminent part of its accomplifhment. 

In difcouvfing further on it at prefent, I fliall circum- 
fcribe the fubjc6i, and only, 

I. Endea.vor tc open the import of this magnificent de- 
claration, as underftood of Chrilf, ''His name fhall endure 
*' for ever," &.c. 

II. Make fome practical improvement of the fubje6l, 
for your inftruction and afTiitance in the prefent duty. 

Firft, then, let us endeavor to open the import of this 
rnagnificent declaration as underfiood of Chrifl — "His 
" name {liall endure for ever," &c. And in the firfi place 
it carries in it an aiTurance of the greatnefs of his power as a 
Saviour, and the perfeil: fecurity of all thofe who put their 
trufl: in him. The word name often ligni5es the excel- 
lence or perfection of the perfon named or referred to. — - 
This is efpecially the cafe in fcripture, with refpe£l to 
God, where his name is jufi his glory and all fufliciency 
revealed. The name of the Lord is in many paflages of 
equivalent meaning with the power of God : thus, ProVi 
xviii. 10. " The name of the Lord is a Itrong tower ; the 
^' righteous runneth ip.to it, and is uSt.'* Pfalm xx. i. 
*' The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble ; the name of 
" the God of Jacob defend thee." This may with the 
greater propriety be applied to Chrill, that you may know 
the name di Jelus, was by the exprefs appointment of the 
angel of the Lord, given to him at his birth, to denote the 
great deliverance he was to work for fmners, in faving 
them from their fins. This is the great errand oh which 

Vol. n. Q^q 



^6 ' The Glory of the Redeemer 

the Son of God came into the world, i Tim. i. 15, "ThisT 
" is a faithful faying, and worthy of all acceptation, that 
*' Chrift Jcfus came into the world to fave finners; of 
" whom I am chief." The fuccefs he fliould have in thisr 
work is often celebrated, as Ifaiah liii. 10, 11. " Yet it 
" pleafed the Lord to bruife him ; he hath put him to 
** grief: when thou fllalt make his foul an offering for fin, 
" he fliall fee his (ttd^ he Ihall prolong his days, and the 
" pleafare of the Lord fliall profper in his hand. He fliall 
*' lee of the travail of his foul, and (hall be fatisfied : by 
his knovi*led2;e fhall my righteous fervant jultify many ; 
" for he fliall bear their iniquities." His power as a Sa- 
viour, to break the chains of Satan, and to deliver the 
captive foul, is frequently declared in the flrongeft terms, 
as Ifaiah xlii. 6, 7, 8. *' I the Lord have called thee in 
" righteoufnefs, and I will hold thine hand, and will keep 
*' thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a 
" light of the Gentiles ; to open the blind eyes, to bring 
*' out the prifoners from the prifon, and them that fit in 
" darknefs out of the prifon-houfe. I am the Lord ; that 
** is my name : and my glory will I not give to another, 
*" neither my praife to graven images." Ifaiah Ixiii. 1. 
** "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed gar- 
*' ments from Bozrah ? this that is glorious in his apparel, 
" travelling in the greatnefs of his Itrength ? I that Ipeak 
*' in righteoufnefs, mighty to fave." This power ofChrilt 
to fave, feems to be plainly called his name, i John iii, 
23, " And this is his commandment, that we fhould be- 
*' lieve on the name of his Son Jefus Chrift, and love one 
*' another, as he gave us commandment." Thus it is 
reafonable to think, that the power of Chrill as a Saviour 
is celebrated in our text, as what would ever remain a 
fure and plentiful fcurce of ialvaiion to mankind, and be 
ever depended upon and acknowledged as fuch, by all the 
redeemed. 

This glory of Chrifrs name as a Saviour, has a particu- 
lar refpedl to the wretched and deplorable ftate of thofe, 
who are the objects of his mercy, and that there are none 
beyond the reach of his power. That there is none fo- 
loaded with guilt orfo ilained with pollution, but he is able 



in the Perpetuity of his Work. 30^ 

to purchafe their pardon, and to efFe(5l their deliverance. 
Perlbns you know afflifted with inveterate and dangerous 
difeafes, are apt to hearken with eagernels to the name of 
an eminent phyfician, from whole Ikill they may enter- 
tain fonie hopes of recovery, and the greater and more il- 
]u{lrious his name is, they are apt to place the greater con- 
fidence in him. So when we hear that Chrill's name fliali 
endure for ever, it fliould encourage all finners of whate- 
ver rank to fly to him, and to put their trufl in him. God 
reafons thus in illullrating his own merc}^, Ifa. i. 18, 19. 
*' Come now, and let us reafon together, faith the Lord ; 
*' though your fins be as fcarlet, they Ihall be as white as 
*' fnow ; though they be red like crimfon, they fliall be as 
" wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye iliall eat the 
*' good of the land :" and to the fame purpofe, J fa. Iv. 7. 
*' Let the wicked forfake his way, and the unrighteous 
*' man his thoughts ; and let him return unto the Lord, 
*' and he will have mercy upon him ; and to our God, 
*' for he will abundantly pardon.'' But he hath given us 
flill greater encouragement, by committing the work of 
our falvation to fo glorious a perfon, in whofe hand it 
cannot fail, Pfalm Ixxxix. 18, 19. " For the Lord is our 
*' defence ; and the holy One of Ifrael is our King. Then 
*' thou fpakeft in vifion to thy holy One, and faidlf, I have 
" laid help upon one that is mighty : I have exalted one 
" chofen out of the people." Ifaiah ix. 6. " For unto us 
" a child is born, unto us a fon is given, and the govern- 
" ment fiiall be upon his fhoulder; and his name fhall 
" be called Wonderful, Counfellor, The Mighty God, 
" The everlailing Father, Tlie Prince of peace." Not to 
infill on the many pafiages of the New-Teflament, which 
point our attention to the power and dignity of Chrifl, 
I fiiall only niention, Heb. vii. 25. " Wherefore he is 
" able alfo to fave them to the uttermofl that come unto 
" God by him, feeing he ever liveth to make interceflioii 
*' for them." 

I fliall only further fay, that the glory ofChrifl.'s name, 
as an almighty Saviour, may be confidered in itsfuperior 
lullre to every thing that might be fuppofed to come in 
jC<)mpelition with him, or pretend to be put ia this place. 



^o8 ^he Glory of the Redeemer 

This is certainly the meaning of a ^/eat name, when ap* 
plied to men. He is faid to obtain the greatefl name, who 
outltrips or cclipfes others by the glory of his deeds; the 
fame miift be the meaning of this paffage, as applied to 
our Redeemer; " his name fliall endure for ever." The 
names of others fliall foon be 100:. Their inferior bright- 
"nefs will foon decay : but his fhall continue forever with 
unfading and increafmg luftre. 

This, my brethren, is a circumftance that ought never 
to be omitted. We cannot honor Chrift as an ahiiightv 
Saviour, unlefs vv'e believe and remember, that he is the 
only Saviour. There are fome pafl'ages in the prophetic 
writings, in which God afTcrts his own incommunicable 
glory, in oppofition to the vanities of the Gentiles, and 
that in language inimitably flrong, Ifa. xl, 17, 18. "All 
*' nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted 
" to him lefs than nothing, and vanity. To whom then 
" wiJl ye liken God ? or what likenefs will ye compare 
" unto him ?" Ifalah xliii. 10, 11, 12, 13. '' Ye are my 
" witnefTes, faith the Lord, and my fervant whom I have 
^' chofen: tliat ye may know and believe me, and under- 
*' fiand that I am he : before me there was no God form- 
" ed, neither flidl there be after me. (, even 1 am the 
" Lord, and befide me there is no Saviour. I have de- 
" clared and havefavcd, and i have fhewed, whtn there 
" was no ftrange god among }ou : therefore ye are my 
" witneffes, faitii the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before 
" the day was, I am he ; and tliere is none that can deli- 
" ver out of my hand : 1 v/ill work, and who fl};dl let ii?" 
Hof. xiii. 4. "■ Yet 1 am the Lord ^Ijy God from the land 
*' of Egypt, and thou fi^alt know no God but me: tor 
" there is no fiwiour befide me." The fame peculiar and 
e>:clufive honor belongs to Chrifl, as the hope of fmners, 
A(5ts iv. 12. " Neither is there falvation in any other: for 
*' there is none other name under heaven given among 
" men whereby we mull be favcd." 

I might illullrate this fenfeofthe paffage before us, by 
fliewing you that all the rites and ceremonies of the an- 
cient difpenfation, derived their efficacy from their rela- 
tion to Chrift. But I fhall only tell you, that all the de- 



in the Perpetuity of his PFbrk. 309 

pendance which you place upon any thing elfe for your 
acceptance with God, is an injury to the honor of your 
Redeemer ; that all felf-righteoufnefs and felf-dependance, 
to which there is in man by nature fo ftrong a tendency, 
obicures the lufire of that name which fliall endure for- 
ever. That as he is able to fave finners, to the uttermoff, 
fo they ihall never obtain falvation, but by him. As it is 
he who laid the foundation of this great work, who carries 
it on throu<;h all the fteps of its progrefs, and at lalt brings 
it to perfeition, fo he will have, and why ihould he not 
have, the undivided glory. 

2. This leads me to obferve, that the magnificent de- 
claration in the text, concerning Chrlfc, implies the im- 
mortal honor and renown which he would acc}uire by the 
work of man's redemption. Every one knows, that in 
fcripture (lyle, to get a name is to acquire renown and 
glory, by fome illullrious achievement ; as 2 Sam. viii. 
13. " And David gat him a name when he returned from 
-"• Imiting of the Syrians in the valley of Salt, being 
" eighteen thoufand men." 

And furely, my brethren, the undertaking of Chrift 
was the moft glorious in itfelf, the mod arduous in its ac- 
complilhment, the mofl bleffed in its effeifls, and the moft 
generous and difintereiled in him, that can poffibly be con- 
ceived. 1'hink on this part of the fubje6l, J befeech you, 
v^^ith attention; and weigh the intimations we have of it 
in fcripture. And for this purpofe obferve, that he ac- 
quired glory with God, with angels, and with men. 

As the falvation of finners was a work in which the 
glory of God the Father was eminently illufirated, fo he 
is repreiented as looking with the highell complacency on 
Chriit, in the undertaking and accomplifhment of it. 
Thus Matth. iii. 17. *^ And k>, a voice from heaven, fay- 
f" ing. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleaf- 
" ed." . And again, at his transfiguration, Matth. xvii. 5. 
*"• And while he yet fpake, behold, a bright cloud overflia- 
" dowed them : and behold a voice out of the cloud, which 
" faid, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
'' pleafed, hear ye him." If. xlii. i. *' Behold my fer- 
*' vant whom I uphold, mine eleft in whom my foul de- 
?' lighteth : I have put my fpirit upon him, he fhall bring 



3IO The Glory of the Redeemer 

" forth judgment to the Gentiles." We fee alfo, that 
God is reprefented as having put the higheft honor on the 
Redeemer, in reward of his fuft'erings. Phih ii. 9, 10, 11. 
*•• W'heretbre God hath alio highly exalted him, and given 
" him a name, which is above every name; that at the name 
*' of Jefus every knee Ihould bow, of things in heaven, 
*' and things in earth, and things under the earth : and 
*♦ that every tongue fliould confefs that Jcfus Chrift is 
" Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Heb. ii. 9. 
*' But we fee Jefus, who was made a httle lower than the 
*' angels, for the fuff'ering of death, crowned with glory 
*' and honor; that he by the grace of God fliould talle 
*' death for every man." See alfo Heb. xii. 2. " Look- 
*' ing unto Jefus, the author and finiflier of our faith ; 
" who, for the joy that was let before him, endured the 
*^ crofs, defpifing the fliame, and is let dov/n at the right 
" hand of the throne of God." 

I am fenfible, my brethren, that this delight and ap- 
probation, which the father is reprefented as exprefling 
in the undertaking of the Son, is a fubje6l of the moll ele- 
vated nature, on which we ought to think and fpeak witlii 
the utmoit veneration, and with the greatell referve. But 
iince he hath revealed, it is our duty to improve it. Does 
it not carry your thoughts naturally to that cxpreflion we 
find ufed in fcripture, at the finilliing of the material 
creation, mentionejd at the end of every day's work, and 
repeated on a review of the whole. Gen. i. 3J. " And 
" God law ttv&ry thing that he had made, aiid, behold, it 
" was very good." 

We mud needs conceive, the omnipotent Jehovah, Fa- 
ther, Son, and Holy Gholt, as polfefl'ed, not only of abfo- 
lute and unchangeable perfection, but of infinite and in- 
conceivable felicity. And may we not, mull we not con- 
ceive, that this felicity confills both in the contemplation 
and exercife of all his glorious attributes, and in nothing 
more than in the redemption of fumers, in which his pow- 
er, wifdom, holinefs, jultice and mercy, are feverally and 
jointly fo confpicuoully difplayed. Nay, may we not 
venture, with reverence, further to fay, that the three per- 
Ibns in the Trinity, by their didini^ properties, and pecu- 



in the Perpetuity of his Work. 31I 

liar agency, receive and impart everlaaing delight to one 
another, in iheir inefflible communion ! The eternal 
word is reprefented as faying, Prov. viii. 30. *' Then was 
" I by him, as one brought up v/ith him ; and I was dai- 
*' ly his delight, rejoicing always before him." 

(2.) The Redeemer acquired immortal renown among 
the angels, and the whole celellial hofl. This we may fpeak 
of with abundance of certainty, and with yet clearer com- 
prehenfion. Doubtlefs their happinefs confifts in the vi- 
fion and contemplation of an infinite God. And there- 
fore the manifellation and exercife of the divine perfec- 
tions, both in Providence and grace, adminilter to them 
matter of continual and increafmg delight. There is 
a beautiful reprefentation of their employment. If. vi. i, 
2, 3. " In the year that king Uzziah died, I faw alfo the 
♦* Lord fitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his 
" train filled the temple. Above it flood the feraphims: 
" each one had fix wings : with twain he covered his face, 
" with twain he covered his feet, and with twain did he 
*' fly. And one cried unto another, and faid, Holy, holy, 
•' holy, is the Lord of hofts; the whole earth is full of his 
** glory." 

Now there is no reafon to doubt that the work of re- 
demption, in all its parts, in which they themfelves have 
an inferior employ ivient, as minifiring fpirits, under the 
dominion of the uncreated angel of the covenant, mufl be 
a fource of the purcfi; felicity, and a fubjed of the mod 
elevated prarfe. Li a particular manner, the afl"amption 
of our nature into a perfonal union with the divine. You 
fee how they fing praifes at the birth of the Saviour, Luke 
ii. 13, 14. '' And fuddenly there was v/ith the angel a 
*'' multitude of the heavenly hofi, praifing God, and fay- 
*' ing. Glory to God in the highefl, and on earth peace, 
*"' good will toward men." 

The humiliation, fufferings and death of God's eternal 
Son, his vidory upon the crofs, his refurredlion from the 
dead, and triumph over principalities and powers, that is 
to fay, the revolted angels, mull have often laid thefe fer- 
vants of the living God, proRrate in adoration. This is 
not a matter of eonjedure, but clearly revealed ^ the 



^12 The Glory of the Redeemer 

whole plan of redemption being called a m)'neiy, whicrf 
the angels defire to penetrate, i Peter i. lo, ii, i2» ''Of 
•' which falvation the prophets have inquired, and fearched 
" diligently, who prophefied of the grace that fhould come 
" unto you: fearching what, or what manner of time tiie 
" Spirit of Clirift which was in them did lignify, when it 
*• tefliiied beforehand the fufierings of Chrift, and the glo- 
** ry that fliould follow: unto whom it was revealed, that 
*' not unto themfelves, but unto us, they did mini Her the 
**• things which are now reported unto you by them that 
•' have preached the gofpel unto you, with the holy Gholl 
*' fent down from heaven; which things the angels dcHre 
*' to look into." 

Realize thefe great truths to yourfelves, my brethren. 
What think you were the viev/s of the innumerable hoRs 
of cherubim and feraphim, when fomeof them conducted 
the afcending Saviour, and others received him, when he 
entered within the veil! What think you were their views 
when they beheld the Mediator, God Man, exalted at the 
right hand of God, and had a new objeft of adoration, 
bearing the fears of his fufferings, and known b}^ the print 
of the nails, and by his bleeding temples? Hebrews i. 6.- 
*' And again, when he bringeth in the firf^-begotten into 
•' the world, he faith. And let all the angeis of God wor- 
*' fliip hiiu." Oxf when they faw the dominion and 
power with which he was inveded as King of kings, and 
Lord of lords, i Peter iii. 22. "Who is gone into heaven, 
" and is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities,- 
" and powers being made fubjedl unto him." 

This renown of the Saviour mult have been much great- 
er among them, if it is true what many intelligent divines 
have fuppofed, that by the fame glorious undertaking by 
which he redeemed eletl fmners, he efl.-iblifhed and con- 
firmed the obedient angels in a flate of holmefs and hapj)i- 
nefs. I fhall only further fay, that we are exprcfsly toid, 
the adminillration of divine grace, or the government and 
prefervation of the church of Chrifl, is a continued iliullra- 
tion to the fpirits above of his Father's wifdom, Eph. iii. 
10. " To the intent that nciw, unro the principalities and 
" powers in heavenly places, might be known by the 



in the Perpetuity of his PFork. 313 

^» church the' manifold wifdom of God." Agreeably to 
this we find that, in the book of Revelation, which opens 
the great icenes of Providence iu die Church militant, 
there are feveral vifions in which the angels are reprefent- 
ed as uniting their praifes with redeemed finners,^at-id 
direding their worfliip to the fame great objea. This 
leads me to obferve, 

h.) That the Saviour acquired immortal renov/n among 
fmners of mankind. If the angels who were either fpec- 
tators only, or at moll but partial fliarers in redeeming 
grace, do yet hold him in the highefl honor, what is, and 
muft be the fenfe of gratitude which dwells in the heart of 
a pardoned finner ? Oh, my brethren, how many cir- 
cumllances concur to bind the heart of the believer in 
eternal bonds of gratitude to Chrifl ! Vv^ho can conceive 
or exprefs the debt of the finner to the Savicur! He is 
redeemed from everlafVmg defiru6tion, he is laved from 
wrath through him. Whoever is humbled, through fear 
of the vengeance of a holy and jealous God, what fervent 
love will he bear to him, who hath wrought his deliver- 
ance, who hath purchafed his pardon? If he is filled v;ith 
a deep fenfe of his own unworthinefs, of his aggravated 
and inexcufable provocations, with what rapture mufi; he 
look upon that Saviour, who forgave him gracioufly, and 
loved him freely ? Who is not moved with that inimitable 
piaure of penitent love, when Mary Magdalene came in 
as it is related, Luke vii. 3^ 38. *^ And, behold, a wo- 
^' man in' the city, which was a finner, when flie knew 
»' that Jefus fat at meat in the Phari fee's houfe, broughc 
'' an alabafter-box of ointment, and flood at his feet be- 
«^' hind him weeping, and began to waih his feet with tears, 
" and did wipe thetn with the hairs of her head, and kiff- 
«' ed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment." — ■ 
And how juli and proper that refleaion of our Saviour in 
the 47th verfe, " Wherefore, I lay unto thee. Her fins, 
«' which are many, are forgiven ; for flie loved much : 
" but to whom little is forgiven, the fame loveth little." 
The believer's elteem and gratitude muft be greatly in- 
creafed by confidering the unfpeakable cofi: at which his 
deliverance was bought, the amazing, and afF^aing fufFer- 
Vol. n. R r 



3,14 The Glory of the Redeemer 

ings which the Redeemer endured in his room. When 
he follows the patient and immaculate Saviour, by the 
eye of laith, from his inward anguifli in the garden, to his 
Ihameful fufferings on the accurfed tree — with what re- 
lenting- of heart, will he view that bleffed head crowned 
with thorns, that facred body nailed to the crofs ? — And 
when he carries forward his views to the glory and happi- 
nefs prepared for him, in the Redeemer's prefence above, 
what is the fum of his obligations? What bounds can be 
fet to this conqueror's renov/n? In what better way can 
U'e exprcfs this, than by repeating and adopting thefe ani- 
mating fongs of praife, which are now making a great 
part of the worlhip of Heaven, Rev. v. ii, 12, 13, 14. 
" And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels 
*' round about the throne, and tiie beaRs, and the elders : 
" and the number of them was ten thoufand times ten 
*' thoufand, and thoufands of thoufands; faying with a 
" loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was flain to re- 
*' ceive power, and riches, and wifdom, and llrength, and 
*' honor, and glory, and bleffing. And every creature 
" which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the 
** earth, and fuch as are in the fea, and all that are in them, 
** heard I faying, Bleffing, and honor, and glory, and 
** power, be unto him that fitteth upon the throne, and un- 
*' to the Lamb, for ever and ever. And the four beads 
*' faid, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down 
*' and worlhipped him that liveth for ever and ever." — 
And Rev. vii. 9, 10, 11. 

3. In the lall place, the magnificent declaration con- 
cerning Chriil in the text, implies the liability and per- 
petuity of his kingdom. The glorious promifes made to 
the houfe and family of David, have their chief and full 
accomplifhment in Chrift the fon of David. The earthly 
kingdom erected in that family, has long ago been defiroy- 
cd, but the Redeemer's fpiritual kingdom is an everlaPdng 
kingdom, and his dominion fliall have no end. This was 
the promife of the Father to the Meffiah, Pfalm Ixxxix. 
56,37. " His feed fhall endure for ever, and his throne 
" as the fun before me. It fliall be edabliflied for ever as 
*' the moon, and as a faithful witnefs in heaven. Selah." 



in the Perpetinty of his Work, 315 

It Is one great end of the facrament of the Lord's fup- 
per, to perpetuate the Redeemer's name, " as often as ye 
'* eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do fhew forth the 
** Lord's death till he come," and it is a noble and reviv- 
ing objedl of fiiith, that we know that his kingdom fliali 
fland fafl: forever. Hell itfelf may rage, and the princes 
of this world may combine to iliake his glorious throne, 
but he that fits in heaven fhall laugh, the king of Zion 
fiiall hold their impotent attempts in derifion. He fhall 
maintain his interell in fpite of all the efforts of his nume- 
rous and inveterate enemies. He hath often done fo al- 
ready, and fliall continue to do fo, till the end of time. 
Rev. xvii. 14. 

I proceed now to make fome pradlical application of 
what hath been fliid. And, 

Firll, Let us adore the wifdom and the power of ChriR. 

My brethren, AVhen we confider the fimplicity of the 
gofpel, and the fcandal of the crofs ; when we confider 
the whole fyftem of the doi^lrine according to godlinefs, 
and falvation by grace, how direftly contrary it is to the 
pride of our nature, how many attempts have been, and 
continue to be made in every age, to fupprefs it by vio- 
lence, to blacken it by flander, and to adulterate it by 
mixture ; it is a Handing miracle that it has been able to 
hold its ground. Whoever will reflect either upon the 
prefent (late, or the pall hiftory of the church of Chrift, 
mult be obliged to fay, that our faith does not ftand in the 
wifdom of men, but in the power of God. I mull not 
omit to fay that, we are perhaps as much indebted in this 
riation, to the goodnefs of Providence in this refpect, as 
any corner of the earth; and I cannot but be pleafed with 
the choice which our Fathers made, of an emblem and 
motto for the church of Scotland, a bulh burning, but not 
confumed. Let us rejoice in the faith, that the prince of 
the kings of the earth, who hath hitherto maintained hi^ 
truths and interell againil all the powers and cunning of 
earthly policy, will continue to preferve them, and that 
" his name fhall endure forever: his name fliall be con- 
" tinued as long as the fun : and men fliall be blefled \x% 
** him ; all nations fliall call him blelied?" 



316 The Glory of the Redeemer 

2. You may learn from what hath been faid, the guik 
and danger of the enemies of Chrid ; of all thofe wlio fet 
light by the glory of his perfon, and are unwilling to be 
indebted to the riches of his grace. I would willingly 
afpire to the charafter which the apoflle Paul afTumes to 
himfelf, 2 Cor. ii. 17. ''For we are not as many, which 
" corrupt the word God: but as of fmcerity, but as of 
" God, in the fight of God fpeak we in Chrill." Chrill is 
the only foundation of a fmner's hope, i Cor. iii. 11. 
" For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, 
" which is Jefus Chrill/' There may be a form of godli- 
iiefs ; nay, there may bean oflentatious parade of human 
virtue, but there can be nothing of the fpirit and power of 
true religion, without a clear difcoyery and fincere con- 
felTion of our loll and depraved ftate by nature, without a 
believing application to the mercy ol God, through the 
blood of the atonement. Think not I beftech you, to 
frullrate the word of God. The following te'limony, 
comes from the Amen, the true and fliithful witnefs, John 
xiv. 6. " i am the way, and the truth, and the life : no 
" man cometh unto the Father but by me." If fo great 
honor is put upon the Redeemer by God the Father, and 
by his holy angels, how unfpeakably dangerous mull it be, 
for finners to defpife him. You can never defpife this 
ordinance of God for falvation, but from the greateft igno- 
rance of yourfclvcs. My heart bleeds to think of the 
delufion of the dcfpifers of the gofpel. What views can 
you have of the imrnaculate nature and holy law of Gnd, 
if you trufi; in yourfelves that you are righteous ? What 
experience have you of the liability of thefe refolutions that 
liave been taken, as in your llrength? How weak and de- 
fective is that virtue, v/hich is founded only on human 
prudence, or motives of prefent cpnveniency ? One be- 
lieving view of a Saviour on the crofs, will have a more 
powerful intluence in mortifying corruptions, than all 
other arguments whatever. One fervent prayer, urged 
in the name of Chrid, will be more enL-Oual for your pre- 
iervation, than a thoufand merely human refolutions. — 
Obey this falutary counfel, John xv. 4. "Abide in nie, 
" and I in ycu. A.s the branch cannot bear fruit of itfelf, 



in the Perpetuity of his Work, 3ijr 

.** except it abide in the vine : no more can ye, except ye 
" abide in me." 

3. PVom what has been faid, let me befeech you to try 
yotir title to fet down at the Lord's table. This ordinance 
was exprefsly inflituted for putting honor on the Redeem- 
er's name. He is the fum and fubftance of it ; his death 
and fufferings, are the immediate fubjefl of it. Have you 
then, my brethren, a high and inward efieem of his per- 
fon ; a deep fenfe of gratitude for his mercy ; an entire 
and unfhaken reliance on his grace and power ? Can you 
call the Searcher of hearts to witnefs, that you unfeignedly 
approve of this way of falvation, by which God is glorifi- 
ed, and the fmner abafed ? Are you not afhamed to pro- 
fefs it ? And while others are ready to defpife it, are you 
willing to glory in it ? Does it pleafe you to hear that the 
Saviour's name iliall endure forever ? Is it with holy tri-, 
un)ph, you reflect, that the glory of his kingdom fliall be 
unchangeable, and his power to eternity itfelf? If this is 
your dilpofition, I hope you will come with acceptance 
to his table ; and I would flatter myfelf with the pleafing 
expt'clation, that many of this day's worfliippers, fliall be 
everlafiing monuments of their Redeemer's power; that 
they ihall be happy fubje6ls of his grace, and tafle of the 
confoiations of his gofpel on earth, and be heirs and par- 
takers of his glory in heaven. 

4. I would improve this fubje£t, by earneflly befeech- 
ing every Turner to embrace this falvation, and enlifi: him- 
felf under the banner of this renowned Saviour. There 
are no doubt, many u'ithin thefe walls, who are flill in the 
gall of bitternefs, and in the bond of iniquity. O that the 
Redeemer would glorify his own power in their conviiSlioqi 
and their falvation. " Gird on thy fword upon thy thigh, 
"• O moll mighty." Are there not fome in this affembly, 
who are fenfible they are lying under a load of unforgiven 
guilt ; that they are ftill llaves to habitual fm ? Does not 
tlie very facred atlion we are going about, fill you with 
fear, that you are far from the fiate and temper of God's 
children ? Is not the old nature fo flrong in you, that you 
have good reafon to fufpedt you have never yet put on the 
new ? Let me befeech and exhort you, to believe in the 



3i§ The Glory of the Rc^emer 

name of the Son of God. His merit is of infinite value ; 
his power is of infinite efficacy. Many notorious finners 
have been from age to age, the happy witnelfes of both. 
Nothing in your condition ought to be a dlfcouragement 
to you from applying to this all-fufficlent Saviour, he in- 
vites you by me, or rather I invite you by his commiffion, 
and in his own terms, Matth. xi. 28. " Come unto me, 
*' all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give 
*■' you reft." Ifaiah Iv. i. " Ho, every one that thirfteth, 
** come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money : 
^ come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk 
*' without money and without price." John vi. 37. "Him 
*' that conieth to me I will in no wife caft out." How 
{hall I urge your compliance ? is not this name fo power- 
ful that you may fafely put your truft in it .'' Are you not 
defirous that your converfion to God fhould iliuftrate it 
and make it glorious .'' I iliall leave the matter with you 
»ftcr making this remark, that in vain do his enemies op- 
pofe him ; in vain do finners defpife him. He is getting 
him a name by the preaching of the gofpel. It is ftill 
lerving its purpofe, for the calling and confirmation of 
the vedels of mercy, for aggravating the guilt, and in- 
creafing the condemnation of the obflinate and difobedi- 
cnt, Luke xx. 17, 18. ''And he beheld them, and faid, 
*' What is this then, that is written, The rtone which the 
*-' builders rejedled, the fame is become the head of the 
" corner.-' Whofoever fliall fall upon that ftone fliall be 
" broken ; but en whomfoever it ihall fall, it will grind 
** him to powder." 

5. In the laft place, you may learn from what hath been 
{aid, the wifdcm of God, in the inftitution of the Lord's 
Jiipper, and what ought to be your employment at his 
table. How wifely fitted is this ordinance to keep up the 
remembrance of Chrift as a Saviour, as a fuffcring dying 
Saviour. Perhaps no one circumftance has contributed 
more to prelerve the pure uncorrupted doftrine of thegof- 
|jel, than the facrament of the Lord's fupper. It fets the 
truth before our eyes, wiiile the words of the inftitution 
■pepeats it in our ears, i Cor. xi. 24. *' 'j'his is my body, 
** which is broken for you : this do in remembrance of 



In the Perpetuity of his TForh. 319 

" me." And verfe 25th, " This cup is the New Tefta- 
" ment in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in 
" remembrance of me." Profeffing Chriflians, but of 
worldly minds, may be afhamed of the crofs; felf- righteous 
perfons may put fomething elfe in the room of the crofs ; 
perverfe difputers may oppofe it, or keep it out of their 
"writings ; and erroneous teachers may keep it cut of their 
fermons; but there is no keeping it out of the facrament 
of his fupper. Under this aufpicious banner, the name 
of Chrift has been fpread to the moll dillant nations, and 
handed down from the mod difVant ages, and lb it Ihall 
continue till he come again, " for as often as ye eat this 
*' bread," 85:c. How then ought ye to be employed, in 
a thankful and joyful acceptance of falvation through his 
blood, in the lively exercife of faith in his power, in de- 
riving from his fulnefs every thing neceflary for your 
fupport under temptation or trial ; and in fervent prayer, 
that his name may be hallowed, his kingdom may come, 
and his will may be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. — - 
Amen and Amen. 



[ 321 ] 



^< jr^r^fj^j 



The petitions of the INSINCERE UNAVAILING. 

SERMON 36. 



Psalm Ixvi. i8. 

Jf I regard in'upiitij in my heart, the Lord xvill iiat hear me > 

My B«RETHREi>r, 

'^|~^HERE is not, I think, a more ftriking light in 
_J__ which we can confider an affembly of proielling 
chriftians, than as united in their common relation to 
God, and upon an equal footing, as to outward privileges, 
but very different, as to their inward chara6ler. This 
difference fliall only be completely manifeffed in the final 
decifion of their Hate at the lafl day. The mixture of 
faints and fmners mull continue till that time, v/hen there 
ihall be an eternal feparation of the precious from the vile, 
of the fheep from the goats. Muft then, all things con- 
tinue in fufpence and uncertainty till the great day ? Is 
there no v/ay by which we can judge, at prefent, what 
will be the event at that interelling period ? 

What is now the inward temper, or the fpiritual flate, 
and what fhall be the eternal condition of every perfon 
here prefent is perfectly known to God, the fearcher of 
all hearts. It cannot be known indeed, with any certain- 
ty, by his fellow finners, but it may be known in a great 

\qi,. II. , S s 



322 The Petitions of the 

meafure, by every one with regard to himfelf. It may 
be known with fuch a degree of evidence as to deliver 
him from dillrefiing anxiety, and even to fill him with 
the moft; joyful hope and expedlation. Is not this fufFi- 
cient ? and ought it not to excite every one of us to a fe- 
rious and impartial trial of that great quellion, in which 
we have no lefs than an infinite concern. This ought to 
be our care, in a particular manner, when v/e have in 
view to make a near and folemn approach to God, in his 
fan6luary on earth, becaufe his acceptance of our worihip 
in the body, is an earnefl; and pledge of his final appro- 
bation, as appears from the words of the text, " If I re- 
" gard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,** 
and likewife from another paflage, John ix. 31. " Now, 
" we know that God heareth not finners : but if any man 
*' be a worfliipper of God, and doeth his v/ill, him he 
** heareth." 

This Pfalm was compofed, in all probability by the 
Pfalmiil David, though fome are of a contrary opinion, 
and attribute it to one of the prophets, after the captivity. 
The infjiired author celebrates the goodnels of God in 
ibme fignal and national deliverance, and towards the 
clofe ofthePfalni, takes particular notice of the difiin- 
guifliing kindnefs of God to himfelf, as in Pfalm Ixvi. 16. 
*' Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare 
" what he hath done for my foul." He then confiders the 
countenance and acceptance he had met with from God, 
as an evidence of his own fincerity in the 18th and 19th 
verfes, '' If I rep-ard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will 
*' not hear me ; but verily God haih heard me ; he hath 
" attended to the voice of my prayer." I cannot at this 
time take in the whole compafs of this fubjett, orconfider 
how the one oFthefe afi'ertions is related to the other ; but 
as the firll of them contains an interefting truth of itfelf, 
and \'try proper for the trial of our (late — I fliall endea- 
vor, through divine afiKlance, to illuiirate it, in the fol- 
lowing method, 

I. I (hall conlider what is implied in regarding iniquity 
in tlie heart. 



insincere unan^ ailing. 323 

II. What is to be underftood by God*s not hearing fuch 
perfons. And, 

III. I flmll make fome practical improvement of the 
fubjedt, for your inflruQion and direction. 

In the fir (t place, then, let us confider what is implied 
in regarding iniquity in the heart. And I think it is 
plain, that thefe words do not diredly point at open, fcan- 
dalous and profane fmners, who have burfl every bond, 
and look with difdain and defiance in the face of every 
reprover. There are too many of this character, my bre- 
thren, who fall under the defcription of the prophet Jere- 
miah, ch. xliv. ver. 16 and firil claufe of the 17th, and 
who pradically fay, "As for the word that thou hail fpoken 
" unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken 
*' unto thee. But we will certainly do whatfoever thing 
" goeth forth out of our own mouth." To thefe I iliall 
fpeak in the application of the fubje^l:, as there is no doubt 
that they regard iniquity in the heart, fince they openly 
and obllinately pradlice it in the life. But certainly the 
words of the text do chiefly relate to thofe whofe charac- 
ters are more doubtful, both to others and to themfelves. 
Many there have been in every age, and there are many 
amongfl us, who maintain their charaders before men ; 
but when weighed in the balance of the fanduary, fhall 
be found wanting ; but, at the fame time, by the power 
of felf-deceit, they are ready to fay, they ftiall have peace, 
though they walk after the imagination of their own 
hearts. For undeceiving all fuch perfons, and for the 
trial of others, that they that are approved may be made 
manifeft, let me befeech your attention to the following 
particulars. 

I. They regard iniquity in their hearts, who pradife 
it fecretly, who are under reftraint from the world, but 
are not poffefTed of an habitual fear of the omnifcient God, 
the fearcher of all hearts, and from whofe eyes there is no 
covering of thick darknefs where the workers of iniquity 
may hide themfelves. Jer. xxiii. 24. " Can any hide 
" himfelf in fecret places, that I fliall not fee him? faith 
" the Lord ; do not I fill heaven and earth ? faith the 



324 The Petitions of the 

*' Lord." If you remember In what manner I flatcd the 
general meaning of the wordc, you will be fenfible that I 
do not here chiefly point at grofs hypocrify, or thofe who 
under the cloak of religion praclife all manner of wicked- 
nefs in their fecret retirement. There are many others 
on whofe conduct the iudgment of men has a iboncr, 
though at the fame time an infenfible effeft : who are per- 
haps regular and guarded in their vifible deportment, but 
on whom a fenfe of the continual prefence of the invifible 
God, with whom they have to do, hath not a command- 
ing and habitual influence. It is a dangerous fymptom 
of this, when your repentance is very flight, and you eafi- 
ly forgive yourfelves for thofe fins of which the world is 
ignorant, or in thofe that are known, when you remem- 
ber the fhame longer than the fin. 

How many unhappy examples of this do we fee every 
day ? How many can go very eafily under their fins that 
are known only to God, but are filled with vexation when 
they have been betrayed into what expofes them to the 
cenfure of their fellow-creatures. There are fome who 
fee m to be much more affefted with the cenfure of others 
for trifling errors, than the difpleafure of God for heinous 
fins. Nay, there are to be found fome v/ho evidently 
fuffer more uneafinefs from the cenfure of others, even 
■where it is wrong, than from frequent negleds or breaches 
of the law of God. Now, what fignifies the opinion of 
others, when it is founded on mifiake, or malice .'' I do 
not mean, my brethren, toextinguifh, or bid you endea- 
vor to extinguifli, a fenfe of fliame ; but let if be fubordi- 
nate to the fear of God. The dillrefs of a real jienitent 
fliould arife from the diflionor he hath done to Gcd. The 
reproach he hath brought on religion, Ihould wound him 
more deeply than ihe ihame or fear he hath brought upon 
himfelf. Let the fliamiefulnefs of every bad ac\ion, bear 
a part in fhewing you its abominable nature. But I am 
bold to afiirm, that they are fcrangers to true penitence, 
in whom a fenfe of fname is (Ironger than a fenfe of fin. 

This attachment to fecret fin admits of various degrees. 
It is fometimes fhonger, and fometimes weaker ; Ibme- 
timcs general, and foaictimes more confined. Tiiere are 



iiisincere iiiia'aaUing. 325 

inflances in which It appears chiefly by the continuance 
and influence of fome one darling luft, which the finner 
cannot give up. This holds its place after others or fur- 
rendered ; and though it dare not appear openly in the 
converfation, retains its dominion in the heart, and is in- 
dulged under the covert of fecrecy. The arguments ad- 
duced in its defence, the excufes offered for it by the fm- 
ner to his own mind, are very many ; but that it is a re- 
garding iniquity in the heart, appears from its being con- 
cealed. It v/ould feek no hiding place, if it were not one 
of the works of darknefs. 

2. They regard iniquity in the heart, who entertain 
and indulge the defire of fin, although in the courfe of pro- 
vidence, they may be retrained from the atlual commiffion 
of it. I am perfuaded the inftances are not rare, of men 
feeding upon fmful delires, even when through want of 
opportunity, through the fear of man, or through fome 
partial rellraint of confcience, they dare not carry them, 
into execution. This will be bell illuftrated by particular 
examples; and therefore, 1 fliall jufl: mention the three 
following — impurity, fenfuality, and malice. 

Men may indulge themfelves in unchaile and lafcivi- 
ous thoughts; they may allow their imaginations to run 
out upon fuch fubjecls, meditate and dwell upon them 
with delight, drink in with pleafure fuch difcourfes or fuch 
writings as prefent them with polluted images, although 
they are retrained from the commifTion of grofs a6ls of un- 
cleannefs. All v/ho voluntarily indulge themfelves in 
fuch mental impurity, who think it enough to abflain from 
the criminal adlion, or perhaps maintain fome prudent 
referye and decency of converfation, but do not make 
confcience of watching over their inward defires; beyond 
all queilion, they regard iniquity in the heart. For this 
we have the exprefs tefilmony of our blelfed Saviour, 
Matthew v. 27, 28. '' Ye have heard that it was faid by 
'' them of old time, Thou {halt not commit adultery ; but 
" I fay unto you, that whofoever looketh on a woman to 
" lull after her, hath committed adultery with her already 
*' in his heart." Again, 



326 The Petitions of the 

Men may habitually indulge themfelves in fenfuality of 
heart, when they have little or no opportunity of giving 
the rein to fenfuality in pradlice. They may pleafe them- 
felves with the imagination or expeflation of worldly 
greatnefs, or worldly delights. Such things may be the 
theme of their meditation, and the objeds of their fuiful 
affections, although they fliall never come into their pof- 
feffion. Their fenfuality of heart may difcover itfelf by 
impatient complaints of their own Hate, which has not 
given them the means of indulgence, or by envious re- 
pining at the outward profperity of others, who are more 
liberally provided for. Nay, I would fay the lame thing 
of thofe who have the means of gratification, and yet are 
ufually fober, if their reftraint is owing to no better prin- 
ciple than the fear of ficknefs, or the fear of man. 

Once more, men may indulge themfelves in malice 
againll others, although it be chiefly confined to the fscret 
working of their hearts. Prudence or cowardice may hin- 
der men from doing mifchief, even when they are full of 
inward malice. Envy, that corroding, wafting worm, 
chiefly preys upon the heart. Men may rejoice at the ca- 
lamities of others, or indulge refentment of fuppofed in- 
juries, which is never carried into efledt. All fuch, my 
brethren, regard iniquity in their heart, and are living in 
the wilful and deliberate breach of the law of God, which 
is pure and fpiritual, and hath the heart as its principal 
objecSt. Matth. v. 21, 22. "Ye have heard that it was 
*' laid by them of old time. Thou (halt not kill ; and, 
*' whofoever lliall kill, lliall be in danger of the judgment. 
*' But I fay unto you, that whofoever is angry with his 
*' brother without a caufe, fliall be in danger of the judg- 
*' ment : and whofoever Ihall fay to his brother, Raca, 
*' Ihall be in danger of the counfel : but whofoever fhall 
*' fay, Thou fool, fliall be in danger of hell-fire." 

3. They regard iniquity in the heart, who refkf!: upon 
pad fins with delight, or without fincere humiliation of 
mind. Perhajis our real dilpofition, both towards iin and 
duty, may be as certainly difcovered by the Rate of our 
minds after, as in the time of adlion. The ftrength and 
fuddennefs of temptation may betray even a good man 



insincere unavailing, 327 

into the commiffion of fin ; the backwardnefs of heart and 
power of inward corruption, may make duty burdenfome, 
and occafion many defeats in the performance: but every 
real Chrlllian remembers his pail fins with unfeigned con- 
trition of fpirit, and a deep fenfc of unworthinefs before 
God; and the difcharge of his duty, however difficult it 
may have been at the time, affords him the utmoft plea- 
fure, on refledion. It is otherwife with many : they 
can remember their fins Vv'ithout forrow, they can fpeak 
of them without fhame, and fometimes even with a mix- 
ture of boafting and vain-glory. Did you never hear 
them recall their pafl follies, and fpeak of them with fuch 
relilh, that it feems to be more to renew the pleafure, than 
to regret the fin. Even fuppofing fuch perfons to have 
forfaken the pradlice of fome fins, if they can thus look 
back upon them with inward complacency, their feeming 
reformation mufi: be owing to a very different caufe from 
renovation of heart. How oppofite the fentiments of Job, 
who confiders his afflictions as a vifitation of God for his 
fins in early life, Job xiii. 26, " For thou writefl; bitter 
" things againil me, and makefl me to poflefs the iniqui- 
" ties of my youth." See alfo the prayer of the Pfalmift, 
Pfalm XXV. 7, " Remember not the fins of my youth, nor 
*' my tranfgrefllons : according to thy mercy remember 
'' thou me, for thy goodnefs fake, O Lord." 

4. They regard iniquity in the heart, who look upon 
the fins of others whh approbation, or indeed, who can 
behold them without grief. Sin is fo abominable a thing, 
fo dilkonoring to God, and fo deRru6live to the fouls of 
men, that no real Chrifiian can witncfs it without concern. 
Hence it is lb frequently taken notice of in fcripture, as 
the character of a fervant of God, that he mourns for the 
fins of others, Pi'al. cxix. 136, 158, " Rivers of water run 
** down mine eyes : becaufe they keep not thy law. I be- 
" held the tranfgrefTors, and was grieved : becaufe they 
" kept not thy word." See alfo the language of the pro- 
phet Jeremiah, chap. xiii. 17. " But if }'e will not hear 
" it, my foul (liall weep in lecret places for your pride; 
" and mine eye Ihall weep fore, and run dov/n with tears, 
'' becaufe the Lord's flock is carried av;ay captive." 2 



328 ^I^he Pedticns of the 

Peter ii. 7,0, "And delivered jufl Lot, vexed with the 
" filthy converfation ot the wicked : (for that righteous 
*' man dwelling among them, in feeing and hearing, 
*' vexed his righteous foul Irom day to day with their un- 
"• lawiul deeds)." Have we then among us any, my bre- 
thren, who can look upon the fms of others with compla- 
cency or approbation, who excufe or palliate, who juili- 
fy or defend them, hov/ different is their temper from that 
of the fcripture faints j aft now referred to ? Whatever 
outward regularity they may poffefs or pretend to, it is 
plain they are of tlie number of thofe who regard iniquity 
in the heart. To fome fins their own nature may not 
prompt them, from others, the fear of man may rePirain 
them ; but the holy fpirit furely never has reformed them. 
It is ai\ infallible maxim, that no man can think light- 
ly of fin in others, who has an unfeigned hatred of it in 
himfclf. 

This will hold with equal or with greater flrength, as 
to thofe who make the fms of others the fubjeft of their 
mirth and entertainment. The wife man tells us, Prov. 
xiv. 9, "Fools make a mock of fm." And the obferva- 
tion will hold equally true, whether we confider the fin 
committed, or the danger of the finner. Is there any thing 
we fliould hate more than what is fo ofTenfive to God ; of 
which he hath expreffed his deteflation ? And mufl he 
not regard iniquity in the heart, who can find pleafure in 
what Ihould be viewed by every Chrifiian with horror ? 
And what name does he deferve, who can make hinifelf 
merry v.'ith the everlalling perdition of liis feilow-crea- 
lures ? We have the greateil reafon to lament the pre- 
valence of fin amongfl us, and the boldnefs of finners ; 
and little lels, to lament the reception which botlvfin and 
finners meet with among thofe, of v.hom better things 
might have been expected. 

5. In the laft place, 1 fufpe£t that diey regard fm in the 
heart, who are backward to bring themfelves to the trial, 
and who are not truly willing, that God himfelf would 
fearch and try them. Sin often lurks fecretly, and in dif- 
guife. He is a ilranger to religion, who docs not know 
this from experience. Hear the language of the Pfalmifi, 



insincere unavailing' 3-9 

Pfal xix 12. " Who can underftand his errors ? cleanfe 
" dioa'me from fecret faults." Pf, cxxxlx. 23, 24. "Search 
♦' me O God, and know my heart : try me, and know 
" my' thoughts, and fee if there be any wicked way in 
" me and lead me in the way everlalting." 

If any, therefofe, are unwilling to be tried, if they are 
backward to felf-examination, it is an evidence of a llrong 
and powerful attachment to lin. It can proceed irom no- 
thing but from a fecret dread of fome difagreeable diicove- 
ry of the deteaion of fome luft, which they cannot con- 
lent to forfake. T!ie force of confcience is fuch, that 
fome deception is neceffary to keep the fmner in peace 
with himlelf. Too much light would either debar him 
from his delights, or poifon the enjoyment o[ them. This 
is arongly defcribed by our Saviour, John in. 20. "i^or 
•' every one that doeth evil hateih the light, neither cometh 
" to the light, led his deeds ihould be reproved." 

We proceed novv^ to the fecond thing propofed, which 
\vas to Ihow what is to be underllood by God's not hearing 
thofe who regard iniquity in their hearts. This expref- 
fion of God's not hearing them, may be confidered very 
generally, as fignifying that they are not, nor whde they 
continue in that temper can be, the objefts of his favor ; 
he will not remember them with the love which he beareth 
to his chofen. But as the expreffion is ufed in lome par- 
ticular and diftina fignifications in fcripture, which will 
merit our attention, I fnall briefly mention the chief of 
them, which feem to be the four following. 

I. He will not hear them when tliey cry to him for de- 
liverance from affliaion. I take this to be at leaft_ one 
thing, if not the main thing, intended by the Plalmift in 
the paaV.ge where the text lies. After giving praife to 
God for a fignal deliverance, he draws this comfortable 
conclufion from it, " If I regard iniquity in my heart, the 
" Lord will not hear me; but verily God hath heard me : 
*' he hath attended to the voice of my prayer." It is one 
*' of the charaaers, as Well as one of the privileges of the 
children of God, that they f^y to him as their refuge in 
dillrefs; and he hath eivcn his gracious promif«, that he 
Vol. II. ^ T t ^ 



330 The Petitions of the 

will hear them in mercy, Pf. xci. 15. "He fliall call upon 
*' me, and 1 will anfwer him: I will be with him in trou- 
" ble, I will deliver him, and honor him." PJ'alm 1. 15. 
" And call upon me in the day of trouble ; I will deliver 
*' thee, and thou flialt glorify me." But thofe who rej^ard 
iniquity in their hearts, have no rcafon to expefl that God 
will hear them in thi&fenfe. They are liable to the cala- 
mities of human life ; they are liable to the Urokes of 
God's righteous Providence : but they have no title to go 
to him for relief. Every afflidion carries in it the feverity 
of a judge, without any mixture of die mercy of a father. 
It is true, that wicked men do fometimes cry to God in 
diftrefs, but not in the fi)irit of his children ; and as we 
learn from this paflage, their prayers do not find accep- 
tance wirth him. 

There are three different objedl:s of defire to a good man, 
while in afllidion : the divine prefence to fupport him 
under it; the fandified ufe of it, for the improvement of 
the fpiritual life; and in due time, compleat deliverance 
from it. The two firft, he that regards iniquity in his 
heart, will hardly aflc ; and the lad he fliall not be able to 
obtain. The prayer of one unacquainted with God, is 
little better than the howling of defpair and terror, witliout 
any mixture of filial confidence. Hofea, vii. 14. "And 
" they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they 
" howled upon their beds." As to the fandlified ufe of 
their fuiFcrings, they neither afk nor receive it ; on the 
contrary,, they are commonly made worfe by their fuiTer- 
ings, as earthen veflels are but hardened in the fire. And 
as to deliverance from fufTering, they fliall never obtain 
more than perhaps a temporary fufi-)enfion of outward 
ilrokes, till they fill up the meafure of their iniquities, and 
be ripe for final dcllruiftion. 

I cannot help, jull hinting in this place, that when God 
vifits his children's faults with rods, and their fins with 
chalUfementG, till thty forfake their fins by true repen- 
tance, he will not hear them. If diey have departed Irom 
the paths Cf truth and righteoufnefs, if they have taken of 
the accurfed thing between him and them, there cannot 
be peace, Ifaiah lix. i. " Behold, the Lord's hand is not 



insincere unaiiailing. 331 

" fiiortened, that it cannot fave ; neither his ear heavy, 
*' that it cannot hear." The very intention of afflidion 
to the children of God, is to feparate them from fin, and 
it mud continue till it produces its effeft. What he fays 
of the inhabitants of Jerufalem, in general, is but an em- 
blem of the manner in which he will treat every particular 
perfon of the true Ifrael, Ifaiah i. 25. " And 1 will tura 
*' my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy drofs, 
*' and take away all thy tin :*' 

2. He will not hear them, when they intercede for 
others. It is in this fenfe, that the word is ufed in the 
gofpel according to John ix. 31. "Now, we know that 
" God heareth not linners : but if any man be a worlhip- 
*' per of God, and dolh his will, him he heareth." We 
are exprefsly taught by the apollle James, that it is the 
prayer of faith, and the pra)'er of the righteous that hath 
power with God, James v. 15, 16. "And the prayer of 
" faith (hall fave the fick, and the Lord Ihall raife him up ; 
" and if he have committed fins, they Ihall be forgiven 
" him. Confefs your faults one to another, and pray one 
*^ for another, that ye may be healed. The effe6:Xial fer- 
" vent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." I am 
fenfible, my brethren, that this will feem of very little 
moment to many, or probably to the greateft part of thofe, 
who regard iniquity in their hearts. Not much accuflom- 
ed to the exercife of prayer for themfelves, it will make 
but a light imprefiion on them, to be told that they will 
not be heard in their interceffion for others. The truth 
is, many, if they would attend to it, carry their own con- 
demnation in themfelves, from this very circumilance. 
Confcious that they have little intereft; at the throne of 
grace, they feldom think of employing it at all. But 
eonfidering that there is fcarcely any perfon wholly unre- 
lated to others, and that many have occafion, from time 
to time, to fee thofe to whom they are united by the moft 
tender ties, lying under the prelfure of affliClion, it ought 
to cover them with confufion, that they know not what it 
is to look to God, as the hearer of prayer, and to lend that 
help, which they may Ihortly require. When we fee one 
jnen^ber of a family lying under the rod, and a profane 



332 The Petitions of the 

hufband or wife, parent orcliild, (landing by in hopeltTs 
diflrefs, and pvayerlefs tears, it is hard to fay which of the 
two is the greater object ot" compaffion. 

And what an incitement fliould it be to thofe, who are 
often called to the duty of intercelfion, either from their 
oliice or their character, to walk circuinfpedlly, that they 
may not mar their confidence in God. Let them guard 
>vith double diligence again ft any thing that is provoking 
to God. Let them ftrive to keep clear their intcveft in hh 
favor, left they fliould at once wound their peace and 
deftroy their ufefulnefs; for if they regard iniquity in their 
heart, the Lord will not hear them. 

3. He will not Iiear them when they draw near to him 
in worftiip. This alfo, is often the meaning of the ex- 
preftlion infcripture, Ifiiah i. 14, 15. '■'- Your new moons, 
*' and your appointed feafts my foul hatetli : they are a 
" trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when 
" ye fpread forth your liands, I will hide mine eyes from 
*' you; yea, when ye make many prayers I will not hear ; 
*' your hands are full of blood." There are many other 
palfages to the fame purpofe, particularly that of Solomon, 
Prov. XV. 8. "The facriiice of the wicked is an aboniina- 
" tion to the Lord : but the prayer of the upright is his 
*' delight." The Pfalmift was fo fenfible of this, that he 
fays, Pfalm v. 4, 5, 6, 7. *' For thou art not a God that 
*' hath pleafure in wickcdnefs; neither lliall evil dwell 
" with thee. The fooliih fliall not Hand in thy fight: thou 
*' hateft all workers of iniquity. Thou fhaltdefboy them 
" that fpeak leafing: the Lord will abhor the blood)' and 
*' deceitful man. But as for me, I u ill come into :hy 
*' houfc in the multitude of thy mercy; and in thy fear 
" will I y.orftiip toward th}^ holy temple." 

This ought to make a deep and ferious impreffion on 
your minds. Tiieie are but too many who, though they 
live in the piatlice of fin and regard iniquity in their 
hearts, do yet continue their outward attendance on the 
ordinances ol' divine inftitution, and at ftated times lay 
hold of tl'.e feals of God's covenant. Shall they find any 
acceptance with him ? No. He counts it a profane 
mockery; hecounts it a facrilegious ufurpalion, Ffalm 1. 



insincere unan^ail'mg. 333 

j6, 17. " But unto the wicked God faith, AVhat hafl thou 
*' to do to declare my flatutes, or that thou Ihouldll take 
" my covenant in thy mouth ? Seeing thou hateft in- 
" ftruflion, and caflefl my words behind thee." Shall 
they have any comfort in it ? No, unlefs in fo far as in 
righteous judgment he fuffers them to be deceived, and 
they are deceived, and mofi: unhappy they, who lie long- 
ell under the delufion, Pfalm 1. 21. " Thefe things haft 
'' thou done, and I kept filence : thou thoughteft that I 
*' was altogether fuch an one as thyfelf; but I will reprov-e 
" thee, and fet them in order before thine eyes." Shall 
they have any benefit by it ? No, inftead of appeafmg 
his wrath, it provokes his vengeance. Inftead of enlight- 
ening their mindSj it blinds their eyes. Inftead of fanc- 
tifying their nature, it hardens their hearts. See a de- 
fcription of thofe who had been long favored with outward 
privileges, and gloried in them, John xii. 39, 40, "There- 
"• fore they could not believe, becauf'" that Efaias faid 
" again. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their 
*'■ heart ; that they iliould not fee with their eyes, nor un- 
*' derftand with tiieir heart, and be converted, and I fhould 
" heal them." So that nothing is more eflential to an 
acceptable approach to God, in the duties ofhisworfhip 
in general, and particularly to receiving the feals of his 
covenant, than a thorough and univerfal feparation from 
.Vil knov/n fin, Job xi. 13, 14. " If thou prepare thine 
" heart, and ftretch out thine hands towards him ; if ini- 
" quity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not 
" wickednefs dwell in thy tabernacles." 

4. lie will not hear them when they cry for mercy at 
laft. Sooner or later the fmner's eyes fliall be opened. 
Sooner or later he ftiall be convinced of the folly of his 
miferable choice. Man}'- of thofe who regard iniquity in 
their hearts, fleep in fecurity, and flatter ihemfelves with 
miftaken hopes; but. Gal. vi. 7, "Be not deceived: God 
" is not mocked ; for whatfoever a man foweth, that fliall 
" he alfo reap." From the account given by our Saviour, 
it would appear that the final fentence ftiall, in many in- 
ftances, be matter of furprife as v/ell as terror to the fm- 
ner, Matt. vii. 22,23, " Many will fay to me in that day, 



334 ^^-'^ Petitions of the 

*> Lord, Lord, have we not prophefied in thy name ? and 
"• in thy name have caft out devils ? and in thy name 
*' done many v.onderful works ? And then will I profels 
*' unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that 
" work iniquity." Nay, perhaps we may fay that to 
feme, the day of God's mercy may be over before the 
clofe of life; and they may find no place for repentance, 
though they may feek it carefully, and with tears. Not 
but that wherever there is true penitence, even at the 
eleventh hour, forgivenefs will be the effefi: ; but we may 
iuftly fuppofe that there may be a dcfpairing cry for mercy, 
from the apprehenfions of impending judgment, without 
any thorough convidlion of fm. The reception that fuch 
will meet with, and the reafon upon which it is founded, 
is reprefentcd in the ftrongefl language, Prov. i. 24, 25, 
26, 27, 28, '' Becaufe I have called, and ye refufed ; I 
*' have flretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; 
*' but ye have fet at nought all my counfel, and would 
" none of my reproof: 1 alfo will laugh at your calamity; 
" 1 will mock when your fear cometh : when your fear 
*' cometh asdefolation, and your deftru6lion cometh as a 
"whirlwind; when dillrefs and anguifli cometh upon 
*' you: thenflmll they call upon me, but 1 will not an- 
" fwer ; they Ihall feek me early, but they fiiall not find 
*' me." 

I proceed now to make fome practical improvement 
of this fubjctl for your inftrutlion and direclion. And, 
I. Suffer me to fpeak a little to thole who live in the open 
habitual praftice of grofs fin. It grieves me to think, 
my brethren, that any fnch Ihould be found or fuppofecl 
in this worfhipping aflembly. It dilh'efles me fiill more, 
to think that any fuch fliould have the prefumption to aflc, 
or the art to obtain permifllon, and the dreadful hardinefs 
to fit down at the Lord's table. I lliall defcribe you not 
by your names, which are known to men, but your cha- 
jaders and hearts, which are open before God. Swear- 
ers and profaners of Jehovah's name, defpifers of his Sab- 
baths, fcorners of fiicred things, negledlers of prayer, Ions 
G"f violence, midnight rioters, beafily drunkards, unclean 



insincere uria'vailing. 33-5' 

fornicators, takers and holders of unjuft gain, liars and 
llanderers, hard-hearted oppreflors, and whofoever liveth 
under the dominion of known fm. Is the nature of God 
fo holy, is his law fo fpiritual, is his judgment fo fevere, 
that thofe who but regard iniquity in their hearts, fhail 
inevitably perifh ; then how fliall you efcape the damna- 
tion of hell ? Is memory fo unfaithfi>J, as not now to 
bring your fins to remembrance ? Is confcience fo fear- 
ed as not to charge you with the guilt ? Can you doubt 
the being, do you not feel the prefence, do you not fear* 
the judgment of God ? " The wicked fliall be turned in- 
" to hell, and all the nations that forget God; for Tophet 
*' is ordained of old," &:c. 

Oh, that it would pleafe God, by his omnipotent grace^ 
to reach your hearts, to (liake your confidence, to humble 
you to the dud. 1 call God to record, that you have re^ 
ceived warning. I know that you m.ay defpife it ; I am 
afraid that many will do fo. Away to your cups, away to 
the bleifed llage, that dear friend to virtue ; away to your 
merry, fecial life, drink confufion to your preachers, and 
pour forth every term of reproach that your little wit can 
fugged, agc/mll thefe poor prieft-ridden creatures, who are 
afraid of their minifter's reproof Alas, alas ! when the 
king of terrors, on his pale horfe, fliall make his approach, 
you will be of another mind, unlefs perhaps, as it often 
happens, you meet with a fudden call, an immediate 
franflation from the fire of lull to the fire of hell. 

2. Let me intreat you, my dear brethren, from what has 
been faid, to fearch and try yourfelves, whether you regard 
iniquity in your hearts, or not. This is the rather necef- 
fary, as you have in view an immediate and folemn ap- 
peal to God, that you are fincere in his covenant. Does 
the fear of the Lord poffefs you in fecret, as well as in pub^ 
lie ? Are you willing that it Ihould be fo ? Is it your daily 
fludy, and is it the fubjeft of your daily prayer, to have 
a deeper and more lively impreffion of his prefence upon 
your fpirits ? Is it truly matter of comfort to you, when 
you are delivered from the fear of human cenfure, or de- 
fire of human approbation? Have you ever got above 
both in your experience, and do you not wifli to maintain 



336 The Petitions of the 

the fuperiority ? If it is To, happy, happy are you Incieed ; 
and may the I<ord himfelf lift up liis countenance upon 
you, and give you peace. 

Do you know what it is to mourn over fecret fins, the 
vanity of your minds, the worldlinefs of your affections? 
And do you truly make confcience of keeping the heart 
with all dili,G;ence, becaufe out of it are the ifTues of life ? 
I will not aflv becaufe I know you cannot deny, that you 
have had many fniful thoughts, in breach of every com- 
mand of God. But are they approved, or abhorred ? are 
they fubmitted to, or refifted ? are they now recolle£lcd 
with pleafure, with indiflerence, or with fliame ? 

What are your thoughts with regard to the fins of others.^ 
Have you ever grieved for them in truth ? Do not think 
that I am leading you to oltentation. I do not aflv you 
•whether you have openly teltified p^gainfl them, or honefl- 
ly reproved them ; becaufe, though thefe are both impor- 
tant and binding duties, they may be more eafily coun- 
terfeited ; and I am not now prefling you to the difcharge 
of your duty to others, but trying your Hncerity before 
God. Have you therefore, mourned in fecret for the fins 
of others .'' have they ever brought you to your knees ? 
have they added fervor to your prayers ? If it be fo, i can- 
not think that you regard iniquity in your own hearts* 
This is no Pharifaical hypocriiy. It is known only to 
God. The profane cannot curfe you for it, becaufe they 
do not hear it: and if they were told it, it is probable they 
would not believe it. 

But methinks I hear fome ferious perfon fay, I have at- 
tended to the interrogatories ; and though I would fain 
hope I know fomething of a fenfe of duty in all, yet, oh ! 
how miferably defedlive have I bt^tn ? Nothing like that 
deep fenfe of the prefence of God, that huniilk.iion of fpi- 
rit for fin, that concern for the divine glory, that I ought 
to have had, that I have fometimes felt for a feafon, and 
that I wiflied to preferve. 

Therefore, my brethren, I would once more aflv you, 
can you now fincerely pray that God would fearch and 
try your ways, difcover every fecret fin, convince you of 
it, humble you for it, and deliver you from it ? Is there no 



ifisincere iinaniaUing, 337 

referve, no exception whatever, nothing that you are will- 
ing to cover, that you are backward to examine, and dif- 
poled to excufe ? Is there no doubtful pra6tice, but what 
you are willing to think of deliberately, to examine impar- 
tially, and if it either appears to be finful, or but remain- 
eth doubtful, to furrender freely ? If you can fay there is 
not^ then after having pleaded your divorce from every 
fin, I have only further to rob you of every duty too, and 
leave you nothing whereof to glory ; to call you to re- 
nounce all felf-righteoufnefs and felf-dependence, and 
make you to fay, " Not I, but the grace of God that was 
" with me: furely, in the Lord have I righteoufnefs and 
" flrength." 

3. I fliall only now fliut up this difcourfe with giving 
you a very few directions for your future prefervation. 

1. Guard againft the fin or fins that you may be mofl: li- 
able to, from your natural temper and conftitution, which 
may be faid to be your own iniquity, and the fin that mofl 
eafily befets you. It is lamentable to think what difgrace- 
ful blemifiies are fometimes to be feen in the conduct of 
the fervants of God. I know this is permitted in Provi- 
dence, and cannot be wholly prevented. But no w^atch- 
ful Chrifiian will fit Itill eafily under it. If fuch a fin 
gives him no refi, he fhould give it no quarter. Some 
very bad things are fometimes borne with, under the noti- 
on of unavoidable infirmities. Yet they are to the preju- 
dice of your own peace; they are a reproach to your pro- 
fefiion, and a diflionour to your mailer. If you cannot 
wholly defiroy, I befeech you, wound and weaken them. 
If there is no probability that they will die wholly, but 
with the body, let it be feen that they are daily lofmg 
llrength, and dying gradually. 

2. Set a particular guard upon thofe fins that you may 
be oppofed to, in your ordinary calling: in that way, 
where you go mofi frequently, the tempter knows he can 
moil eafily find you, and he will certainly be there to meet 
you. Befides interefl: often pleads fo firongly in behalf 
of fome fins of this kind, and they are fo much juftified by 
example, that few can withfiand the temptation. But 
confider, I befeech you, that no honor, profit, or conve- 

VOL. 11. U u 



338 The Petitions of the ^ z^c. 

nience, can pofiibly counter-balance the lofs of God's fa- 
vor ! What a miferable excellency is it indeed, to add a 
little to our earthly ftore at the expence of his difpleafure, 
while we ourfelves are in his hand, and all that we have 
is in the mofl; abfolute manner at his difpofal. 

In the lafl place, if you defire to be preferved from the 
dominion of fin, feat yourfelves often in the prefence of 
God. He feeth in fecret, his eyes do fee, his eye lids try 
the children of men. Afk of him, therefore, that he may 
not fuffer you to deceive yourfelves, but lead you in the 
paths of righteoufnefs for his name's fake. 



[ 339 ] 



The absolute NECESSITY or SALVATION through 
CHRIST. 



SERMON 37. 



Preached before the Society in Scotland for propagating Chrif- 
tian KnoAvledge, in the High Church of Edinburgh, ou 
Monday, January 2, 1758. 



ACTS, iv. 12. 

Neither is there salvation m aiiy other : for there is none other 
name under heaven given among men whereby we must be 
saved. 

IT it is not eafy to conceive any fubjedt, at once more 
important in itfelf, more feafonable in this age, and 
more fuited to the defign of the prefent meeting, than the 
ablbltite neceffity of falvation through Christ. We live 
in an age in which (as is often complained) infidelity 
greatly prevails ; but yet in which the caufe of truth hath 
much lefs to fear from the affaults of its open enemies, 
than from the treachery of its pretended advocates. The 
lateft infidel writers have carried their own fcheme to 
fuch perfection or extravagance, that it muft difcredit the 
caufe in the eye of every fober judge.* And indeed the 

* See David Hume's writings on morals tliroughout; where, 
befides leaving out entirely our duty to God, which he hath in 
common with many other late writers, he exprefsly founds 
juflice upon power and conveniency, derides chaftity, and 
turns many of the moil important virtues into vices. See alfo 
Efiays on the principles of morality and natural x'eligion ; the 
author of which, at one decilive blow, takes away all fin, by 



34^ '^^^ Absolute Necessity of 

gofpel can fcarcely receive a greater injury, than when 
any profefling attachment to it, condefcend to enter the 
lifts with fuch abfurdities, or give ground of fufpicion that 
they ftand in need of a ferious refutation. 

But there is another quarter from which we have much 
greater reafon to apprehend danger, viz. that clafs of men, 
who, being nominal Chriftians, difguife or alter the gof- 
pel, in order to defend it. Thefe often endeavor to give 
fuch views of Chrillianity, as will render it palatable to a 
corrupt worldly mind; and inllead of abafmg, will footh 
and gratify the pride of man. Hence the unnatural mix- 
ture often to be feen of modern philofophy with ancient 
Chriflianity. Hence the fundamental doctrines of the 
gofpel are foftened, concealed, or denied; as, the loft and 
guilty Hate of man by nature, his liablenefs to everlafiing 
mifery, and the neceifity of that fatisfadlion and ranfoni 
which was paid by our Redeemer when he died upon the 
crofs. Inflead of thefe, are we not many times prefented 
with a character of Chrill as a teacher only, and not a Sa- 
viour ; as one excellently qualified to reform the abufes 
that had fome how or other crept into the world, but the 
real fource of which is hardly confeffed, and never wil- 
lingly brought into viev/ ? Is not our bleffed Redeemer 
thereby put on a level, and exprefsly clafled with mortal 
reformers ? Perhaps indeed, a fmall compliment of fupe- 
riority is paid him; which, however, there is reafon to 
fufpeft arifes more from a prudent compliance with efta- 
blifhed faith, than from any inward and cordial elteem. 

What could be reafonably expected as the efl'ett of fuch 
conduit? No other than we find by experience hath aftu- 
ally taken place, that a caufe fo ill defended mufl: daily lofe 
ground. Tiie nearer Chriftianity is brought to the prin- 
ciples of infidels to folicit their elleem, the lefs occafion 
will they fee for it at all ; and when it is perverted from 

founding virtue on a delufive feeling. ThcTc -writings are far 
from being hurtful in proportion to the intention of their au- 
thors : for though the principles contained in them are often 
retailed in converfntion, yet it is only by way of aniuftment, 
on accovuit of their l)oldnefs or novelty, not one in an hundred 
ijppcaring to have any ferious tonviclion of their truth. 



Sahat'ion through Christ, 341- 

its original purpofe, it can expefl no countenance from 
its real author. The truth is, if there be no more in the 
gofpel than many by their language and writings would 
lead us to conceive, it is of fmall confequence whether it 
be embraced or not ; and there can be little merit in a 
fociety who have this as the defign of their union, to fpread 
and propagate Chriftian knowledge. But very different 
are the fentiments expreffed by the apoflle Peter in the 
text; where, fpeaking of Jefus Chriff: of Nazareth, he fays, 
" Neither is there falvation in any other : for there is 
*' none other name under heaven given among men 
*' whereby we mull be faved." 

I am fenfible, there are fome of the very perfons hinted 
at above, who endeavor to explain av/ay this text, and give 
it a very different meaning from that in which you will 
eafily perceive 1 underffand it. They make falvation to 
refer to the cure recorded in the preceding chapter, 
wrought upon the lame man ! as if the apoffle had faid, 
*' Neither is there a power of healing in any other," &c. 
This is but one inffance among many of the force and con- 
ftraint they put upon Scripture, in order to accommodate 
it to their own fentiments. I fliall not waffe your time by 
a tedious refutation of this criticifm, as the fenfe I affix to 
the words will be fufficiently fupported by what ftmll fol- 
low on the fubjecl. They appear to me plainly to affirm, 
that there is no other way by which finners of mankind 
can efcape everlafting mifer}^ but through Chrift. 

In difcourfing on this fubjeft, I propofe, through di- 
vine affiftance, ^ 

I. After a little illuffrating the meaning of the affertion, 
to eflablifli and confirm its truth from the word of God. 

II. To make a fev/ reflexions on this fcheme, and ffiew, 
that it is not onl}'- mofl felf- confident, but moft agreeable 
to the other parts of Scripture, as well as to the vifible 
ffate of the world ; and therefore that thofe who, in rea- 
foning with infidels, depart from it in any meafure, do 
thereby betray the caufe which they profefs to fupport. 

III. I ffiall make fome practical improvement of what 
may be faid. 



342 The Absolute Necessity of 

I return to the firft of thcfe. 

And as to the meaning of the afTertion, the word faving 
or filvation evidently fuppofcs a Hate of mifer)' from which 
our deHverance muil be wrought; and therefore no more 
than the full meaning of the pafl'age is exprefled in what 
follows. That all the poflerity of Adam are conceived in 
fm, and brought forth in iniquity ; alienated in heart 
from the love of God, and expol'ed to the dreadful confe- 
quences of his difpleafure. 'J^hat they have not only accef's 
to falvation through Chrift, but that in this work he hath 
no rival ; it is his, excluflve of all others : To that no 
man, whatever be his charader, or whatever be his hope, 
iliall enter into rell, unlefs he be reconciled to God through 
Jefus Chrill. 

Now, that all mankind are by nature in a flate of guilt 
and condemnation, is evident from the whole drain of 
the holy Scriptures. This originally conftituted tlie ne- 
ceility of a Saviour, and alone ilkiilrates the love and mer- 
cy of God in the appearance of his Son in our nature. — 
Unlefs this is funpofed, the whole difpenfations of the 
grace of God, both in the Old Tellament and in the New, 
lofe their beauty, and lofe their meaning; nay, and would 
be jullly efiecmcd foolifiinefs, as they are in faft by all 
\vlio fee not this foundation upon which they are built. As 
our firfi parents, and the earth for their fakes, were laid 
\inder a curfe imniedlately after the original tranfgrelFion ; 
fo the ef!'c6l3 of this apoltacy on their j^oflerity are amply 
declared in Scripture. We have this repeated teltimony 
from God himfeif concerning the old world, " And God 
" law that tr.e wickednefs of man was great in the earth, 
•'■ and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart 
*' was only evil continually."* And again, '' And the 
*' Lord laid in his heart, I will not again curfe the ground 
'' any more for man's fake; for the imagination of man's 
*' lieart is evil from his youth. ''f 

The rites and ceremonies of the Mofaic dlfpenfation al- 
fo, ton;ethfir with the whole hiftory of Providence contain- 
ed in the Old Tellament, luppofe the guilt and impurity 
of cur nature. But the gofpel, as it is in all refpcds a 
* Gcii. \i. 5, t Ceil. viii. 21, 



Sahation through Christ. 343 

clearer difpenfation than the former, fo it is mod full and 
exprefs upon this fubjeft. Inflead of enumerating many 
paiTages, we may confult the epiftle of the apollle Paul to 
the Romans, where there is a diilinil: and labored illui- 
trationof the guilt and apoftacy of all mankind ; towards 
the conclufion of which he thus exprefles himfelf: ''For 
" we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they 
" are all under fm; as it is written, There is none righte- 
*' ous, no not one; there is none that underftandeth, there 
" is none that feeketh after God. They are all gone out of 
*' the way, they are together become unprofitable ; there 
*' is none that doeth good, no not one."* And a little after, 
*" That every mouth may be flopped, and all the world 
" may become guilty before God -"j To this I fhall only 
add one paflage from the fame apoftle : " Among whom 
*• alfo we had our converfation in times pafl, in the luRs of 
" our flefh, fulfilling the defires of the flefli, and of the 
*' mind ; and were by nature children of wrath, even as 
" others."]: 

That the fame Scriptures point out to us one only re- 
medy for this our mifery, is equally evident. Chrift Je- 
fus was promifed to our iirft parents under the deflgnation 
of the feed of the woman, who fliould bruife the head of 
the ferpent. He is afterwards promifed to Abraham as 
his feed, in whom all the nations of the earth fhould be 
bleffed; to Jacob as Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the 
people (hould be. He is pointed out by Mofes as the great 
prophet that ihould come into the world. And unlefs we 
fuppofe a typical reference to Chriil in the legal wafliings, 
facrifices, and other fervices, they will appear altoo-ether 
unworthy of God, and altogether infufEcient for the pur- 
pofcs for which they were ufed. This indeed is affirmed 
by the apoftle to the Hebrews, " For it is not pofTible that 
*' the blood of bulls and of goats fhould take away fins."ji 
In the later prophets, there are many diftindl and particu- 
lar, many high and magnificent defcriptions of the glory 
of ChrilVs perfon, and the greatnefs of his work. The 

* Rom. iii. 9—12. | Rom. iii. 19. \ Eph. \\. 2, 

!l. Heb. X. 4. 



344 '^'^^ Absolute Necessity of 

attention and expeiftation of every believer is direfled io 
him; and lie is ftyled " the defire of all nations."* 

And in the New Tellament, at his conception it is faid, 
*' Thou fhalt call his name Jefus, for he ihall fave his 
'■'- people from their fins."f At his entrance on his public 
miniiiry, he is thus defignated by John the Baptilt, ••' Be- 
*• hold the Lamb of God that takeih away the fin of the 
" world."! The great defign of his appearing in our na- 
ture, is declared in man}' pallages of fcripture. And as 
falvation is promifed to thofe who believe, {o the condem- 
nation of all unbelievers is neceilarily implied as its coun- 
ter-part, and often exprefsly aflirmed. Thus the apoflle 
John reprefents our Saviour himfelf as teaching, '' God {o 
*' loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, 
" that whofoever believeth in him, Ihould not PERISH, 
*' but have everlafting life."j| And when he gave com- 
million to his difciples to preach the gofpel, it was in thefe 
terms: " Go ye into all the world, and preach the gofpel 
" to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, 
*' fliall be faved ; but he that believeth not, fhall be damn- 
" ed."* The very meaning of the word Gofpel is glad 
tidings; importing not only the great, but the diflinguifh- 
ing happinefs of thofe who hear the meflage, and comply 
with the call. The apoflles, who fpread thefe glad tidings 
through the world, confidercd themfelves as bringing fal- 
vation to thofe who before fat in darknefs, and in the re- 
gion of the fliadow of death. And by the following de- 
fcription given by the apofile Paul of the ftate of the E- 
phefians before converfion, may be {ttn what view he had 
of the condition of all who knew not God, as well as who 
believed not the gofpel, " That at that time ye were with- 
"•' out Chrift, being aliens frcm the commonwealth of 
**" Ifrael, and Grangers frcm the covenants of promife, 
*■• having no hope, and without God in the world. "j — 
From the above fummary, I hope it clearly appears, that, 
according to the Scriptures, there is no falvation in any 
other than in Jefus Chrill; of Nazareth. 

* Hag. li. 6. t Matt. i. 21. \ John i. 29. || John ili. 16. 
* Mark xvl. 15, 16. f I'^ph. ii. 12. 



Salvation through Christ. 345 

It will, however, be proper, for the further illuflration 
of this fubjea, to conficler a little to what this dodrine ' 
Hands oppofed. And though it is impoffible dillinaiy to 
enumerate every thing that may in fome ihape or other be 
put in Ghrill's room, or attempt to rob him of his glory as 
a Saviour ; yet, in general, they may all be reduced to the 
two following heads : ift, Falfe religions, and uninliitu- 
ted rites; 2dly, Self-righteoufnefs, or the merit of our own 
defe£live obedience to the moral law. It is neceffary to 
confider each of thefe by itfelf, and to flate the bounds be- 
tween them : for however little relation they may feem to 
have one to another, they are often mingled together in 
oar apprehenfions, and mutually fupport and ftrengthen 
each other's caufe. 

In the firft place, then, All worfliip of falfe gods, hold- 
ing for truth what hath not the (lamp of divine authority, 
and all uncommanded worfhip, be the objett of it what it 
will, is wholly ineffeftual to falvation : nay, fo far is any 
thing of this kind from being fufficient to fupplant, or 
proper to co-operate with what Chrifl: hath done, that it is 
detellable in the fight of God. Perhaps it may be thought, 
that this is of fmall moment, and wholly unworthy of no- 
tice; as in thefe days few or none will fo much as pretend, 
except in jell, to lay any flrefs upon fabulous deities, cr 
fuperllitious praftices of human invention. But I did 
not chufe to omit it, becaufe it appears to me a thing pe- 
cwliarly infilled on in the holy Scriptures, which contain 
nothing unneceffary. It is alio very much the object of the 
refentment of infidels.* At the fame time, many pre- 
tended Chrillians have, by dcfign or inadvertence, Ipoken 
too much the language of infidels on this fubje£t, or on 
fubjefts nearly related to it. 

How much ftrefs the Scriptures lay upon the know- 
ledge of the true God, nay, hov/ pernicious and deflruc- 
tive all falfe religions are, it were eafy to fliew at great 

* It is very remsrkrvUle, that though infidels always fet out 
on pretence of fcarchiiic!,- inipaitially after truth ; yet they have 
unanimouily agreed in putting truth and error entirely upon 
tlie fame footing, both as to worth and infiuence-. 

Vol. II. X X 



34^ The Absolute Necessity of 

length ; but a few hints will fuffice, as it is not a pciint 
controverted ib much as neglected and forgotten. The 
very firll commandment of the moral law is, "Thou (halt 
" have no other gods before me."i7 And the fecond, 
which forbids uninilituted worfliip, hath this llrong lanc- 
tion, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, vifiting 
" the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the 
" third and fourth generation of them that hate me."^ — 
Through the whole Old Teilament, the idolatry and falfe 
worfliip of the Heathens is reprefented as highly crimi- 
nal in them, and an abomination in the fight of God. It 
is there confidered, not as a fmall part, but as the firll 
and mod provoking of their enormities ; and in particu- 
lar, Is affigned as the ground of the utter extirpation of 
the nations of Canaan. In a perfect confiilency with 
which, in the charge brought againfl them by the apoftle 
Paul, this is the leading part or ground -work of the whole, 
*' Becaufe that when they knew God, they glorified him 
" not as God, neither were thankful ; but became vain 
" in their imaginations, and their foolifli heart was dar- 
" kened.c — And changed the glory of the incorruptible 
*' God, into an image made like to corruptible man, and 
" to birds, and four-footed beafls, and creeping things. 'V/ 
The great end alfo of the feparation of the cliildren of 
Ifrael, and their being kept from intercourfe with other 
nations, was, that they might be preferved from idolatry. 
To the worfliip of the true God their blelBngs are promi- 
fed, and againft defection from his fervice to other gods 
the heaviell curfes are denounced. Thus, after an enu- 
meration of the bleflings that fliould attend them if they 
kept God's commandments, it is laid, " And thou llialt 
*' not go afide from any of the words that I command thee 
*' this day, to the right-hand or to the left, to go after 
" other gods to ferve them.'V And when they flood be- 
fore the Lord, to enter into liis covenant, it is faid, "For 
'* ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt, and 
*' how we came through the nations which ye pafl'ed by. 

* Exod XX. 3. b Exod. XX. 5. c Rom. i. -1. 
t/ Ibid. ver. 23. o DtUt. xxviii. U. 



Salvation through Christ. 347 

" And ye have feen their abominations, and their idols, 
** wood and (lone, filver and gold, which were among 
" them. Led there (liould be among you, man, or wo- 
" man, or family, or tribe, whofe heart turnedi away this 
*' day from the Lord our God, to go and ferve the gods 
" of thefe nations ; left there fhould be among you a root 
" that beareth gall and wormwood. "(2 The fame thing 
may be feen running through the whole of the prophetic 
writings. Almoft every judgment of God threatened or 
infli6ted, is afcribed to their idolatry as its caufe. I only 
mention one paflage, not for any thing particular in it, 
but as a fufficient fpecimen of the whole. It is a meffage 
from God by Ezekiel to the children of Ifrael: " There- 
" fore fay unto the houfe of Ifrael, Thus faith the Lord 
*' God, Repent and turn yourfelves from your idols, and 
*' turn away your faces from all your abominations. For 
*' every one of the houfe of Ifrael, or of the ftranger that 
" fojourneth in Ifrael, which feparateth himfelf from me, 
" and fetteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the 
*' flumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and 
" Cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me ; 
*' I the Lord will anfwer him by myfelf, and I will fet my 
" face againft that man, and will make him a fign and a 
" proverb, and I will cut him off from the midft of my 
" people, and ye fhall know that I am the Lord.'*^ 

In the very fame manner, in the New Teftament, em- 
bracing the gofpel of Chrift, and continuing ftedfaft in 
the faith, is required as abfolutely neceflary to falvation ; 
" He that believeth on the Son, hath everlafting life ; and 
" he that believeth not the Son, fnall not fee life, but the 
*' wrath of God abideth on him.'V The importance of 
holding the truth without mixture, is plainly declared in 
the following pafTage : " Brethren, if any of you do err 
♦' from the truth, and one convert him ; let him know, 
" that he which converteth the finner from the error of his 
*' way, fhall fave a foul from death, and fliall hide a mul- 
*' titude of fms."^ 

a Deut. xxix. 16, 17, 18. b Ezek. xiv. 6, 7, 8. 
c John iiU 36. d James \% 19, 20. 



348 The Absolute Ncccscity of 

It had been eafy to have given a much larger proof of 
this from Scrijnure.; but it is unnecefTary ; for our ene- 
mies vheiiii'e'v.s confefs it, nay objedt it as a ground of 
reproach. How many inveftives have we froni infidel 
writers agaiiifl the un peaceable, unfocial fpirit of the Jew- 
ilh firfl, and afterwards of the Chridian religion ? And 
how often are thefe contralled with the mild and alfoci- 
ating temper of the Pleathen worfliippers? Among them 
it implied no abfurdity, that different nations Ihould have 
different gods, and different forms of worfliip ; nay, they 
often intermixed, compounded, and mutually adopted 
each others worfhip. The Athenians, that wife people, 
were fo prone to receive every foreign rite, that they got 
this charafter from an ancient writer (whether by way of 
encomium indeed, or Hitire, is at this diftance uncertain) 
that they were hofpitable to the gods. According to the 
ientiments of modern unbelievers, they would deferve 
much praife for this ; but according to the fentiments of 
an infpired apollle, " profeffnig themfelves wife, they be- 
*' came fools." 

In this then it is acknowledged, that the gofpel of our 
falvation effentially differs from every human invention ; 
that it conllantly reprefents itfelf as the truth, and all 
things oppofite to it, as falfe, diflionorable to God, and 
unprofitable to men. This has been the cafe in every flep 
of its progrefs, from its firit rife in the comparative ob- 
fcurity of the original promife, through all the prepara- 
tory difcoveries of fucceeding ages, to its complete mani- 
feftation in the fulnefs of time. And though it has been 
expofed on this account to the virulent reproaches of men 
of corrupt minds, it is but fo much the more credible, and 
appears to be from the one only, the living, unchangeable, 
and true God.^ 

It may be proper here to obferve, that it is either the 
fame objection affuming a different form, or one very 
much like it, v/hen it is alledged againll the gofpel. That 
it lays too much ib-efs upon mere belief of the truth, 'i'o 
this fome have, perhaps by miltaking the true fpring of 

a See this lubjccl handled with great clearnefs and prccifion 
by Dr. \Vi\iburtoii in his Divine Legation of Mofes, 



Sahation through Christ. 349 

the objection, given a very wrongs and dangerous anfwer. 
They deny the hdi, that the gofpel does lay too much, 
or any ftrefs at all upon bare belief, feparate from good- 
nefs of life. The danger of this anfwer does not lie in 
its being falfe, but in its being ambiguous, incomplete, 
and in a great meafure improper. It feems to allow, at 
leaft not to deny, that there may be fincere belief, while 
yet it is not attended with its proper fruits. Thus unbe- 
lievers, whofe real quarrel is with the alledged importance 
and efficacy of the truth, are hardened in their indiffe- 
rence and difregard to it ; whereas they ought to be taught 
to confider the principles which are productive of realv 
reformation, as more excellent in themielves, as both ne- 
ceifary and effeftual for this purpofe. 

The gofpel does indeed lay great flrefs upon belief of 
the truth, not without, but as the only way of producing 
holinefs. Many paflages may be cited from ^}e Old 
Tedament, in which going after falfe gods, anc^ comit- 
ting other grofs crimes, are reprefented as infeparable 
branches of the fame charaQer; and worfliipping and 
fervingthe true God, as a fammary defcription ofuniver- 
fal obedience. c And ir.any paffages may be produced 
from the New Teilament, in which the good effeds of the 
truth, and the mifery of departing from it, as necefTarily 
implying an unfandified llate, are declared.^ From all 
this 1 conclude, thatChrifi: Jefus, the proniife of old made 
unto the fathers, the hope of Ifrael, the light of the world, 
and the end of the law for righteoufnefs to every one that 
believeth, is the only Saviour of fmners, in oppofition to 
all falfe religions, and every uninflituted rite ; as he him- 
felf fays, *'• I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no 
" man cometh unto the Father but by me-'V 

But, 2dly, Chrill is the only Saviour, in oppofition to 
the merit of our own obedience to the moral law. I know, 
fome will be ready to fuppofe, that though falfe religion 
and uninflituted rites may have no pofitive influence in 
procuring lldvation to thofe who embrace them, yet they 

a See Deut. xxix. 18, 19. Numb. xxv. 1, 2. Z- See John viii. 
51, 32. Id. xvii. 17. 2 John vcr 4. Col. i, 5, 6. c John xiv. 6. 



350 The Absolute Necessity of 

may not hinder their acceptance with God by virtue of 
their own perfonal merit and obedience. On this fubje<5t 
there are many things which deferve a more particular and 
difiinct confideration than there is room for at prefent ; 
fiich as, I. That all falfe religion is not merely unprofita- 
ble, but highly criminal in the fight of God. Thus the 
apoftie Paul, '' But I fay, that die things which the Gen- 
" tilcc facrifice, they facrifice to devils, and not to God: 
'' and 1 would not that ye fhould have fellovvfliip with 
*' devils. "<:j: 2. That all who embrace not the truth as it 
is in Jefus, mufl: negleft the whole duties of the firll table 
of the moral law, and 'io their obedience be not only great- 
ly, but effentially defective. 3. That the Scriptures give 
lis no ground to believe, that falfe principles can produce 
any virtue but what is fpurious. But inflead of infilling 
upon thefe at prefent, I fliall only attempt to (hew, that 
the Scriptures exclude all human merit, and indeed feem 
to have it as their exprefs purpofe, to (lain the pride of 
all human glory ; and therefore that no pretence of this 
kind can poflibly be admitted. 

And here I Ihall wholly pafs the facrifices of atonement 
under the Mofaic difpenfation, bccaufe they all pointed at 
the facrifice ofiered by Chrift upon the crofs ; and there- 
fore, in the account given of the end and deflination of 
this lad, we may expect the cleared view of the grounds 
of our acceptance with God. Now, Chrifl: appears in 
Scripture, '• as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the 
" fin of the world ;" as " giving his life" for his people ; 
as '* bearing their fins in his own body on the tree." And 
indeed every exprefllon is ufed that could well be imagined 
to fignlfy a propitiatory facrifice, an atonement for fin, 
or the punilhmentof an innocent perfon in the room and 
ftead of the guilty. If this was necefiary for any, it was 
neceflary for all ; and as there is not the leall intimation 
given in Scripture of any dillinilion, or hint, as if there 
were any perfons v/ith regard to whom it was fuperfluous. 
Nothing, therefore, can Hand more direttly oppofed to 
the defi^n of the gofpel, than any plea of merit in man : 

a 1 C"or. X, 20, 



Sahation through Christ. 351 

and none do in fa£l receive it wiih more difdain, than 
thofe who trufi inthemfelves that they are righteous. 

But, for our fatisfadion on this point, we need only 
coniult the epidle to the Romans, before referred to, as 
there is no part of the facred writing where there is a more 
full and conneded account of the foundation of the gofpel. 
There, after proving that all the world are become guilt}-' 
before God, the apoftle fays, " Therefore by the deeds of 
*' the law, there ihall no flelh be juftified in his fight : for 
" by the law is the knowledge of fin.<2 Being juftified 
" freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in 
*' Jefus Chriil : whom God hath fet forth to be a propitia- 
*' tion, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteouf- 
*' nefs for the remiffion of fms that are paft, through the 
*' forbearance of God."^ And again, " Therefore as by 
*' the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to con- 
*' demnation ; even foby the righteoufnefs of one, the free 
*' gift came upon all men to jullification of life.'V Con- 
fonant to this is the do6lrine of the fame apoftle elfewhere : 
*' Yea doubdefs, and I count all things but lofs, for the 
" excellency of the knowledge of Chrifl Jefus my Lord ; 
" for whom I have fuflfered the lofs of all things, and do 
*' count them but dung that I may win Chrift, and be 
*' found in him, not having mine own righteoufnefs, 
" which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of 
" Chrift, the righteoufnefs which is of God by faith. 'V/ 

I am not infenfible, that great pains have been taken, 
even by fome Chriftians, to evade the force of thefe pafia- 
ges of Scripture, which exclude the merit of man's obe- 
dience from any (hare in his jultification before God. Par- 
ticularly, the pafll^ges from the epiftle to the Romans are 
evaded, by r.I'edging, that the law, and the works of the 
law, there, mean only the rites of the Mofaic difpen&tion. 
This is not a proper time and place for entering fully into 
that controverfy ; and therefore I ftiall only obferve, that, 
befides the correfpondence of the above interpretation with 
ail the other parts of Scripture, it may be fufficiently fup- 

a Rem. ill. 20. b lb. ver. 24, 25. c Chap. v. 13. d Phil, Lii. 
S, 9. See a!fo Rora. iv. 2"^— .25. Tit. iii. J. 



V 



JD- 



Tke Absolute Necessity of 



ported by this one confideration, That the apofile, who is 
jpeaking both of Jews and Gentiles, exprelsly ftates the 
oppofition with rei'pect to our juflification between grace 
and debt, and excludes everything that niight make it of 
debt: '•'■ Where is boafting then? It is excluded. By 
" what law? of works ? Nay; but by the law of faith. 
" Therefore we conclude, that a man is juffified by faith, 
" without the deeds of the law."'./ And to the fame pur- 
pofe, a little after, '' Now to him that worketh is the re* 
" ward not of grace, but of debt. But to him that work- 
*' eth not, but believeth on him that juftifieth the ungodly, 
" his faith is counted for rigllteoufnefs."^ 'W'^hatever 
would make our acceptance w itli God not free, or not of 
grace, is here excluded. Now, certainly, as there is a 
much more plaufible plea of merit in favor of works of 
obedience to the moral, than the ceremonial law ; the firll 
are at leaft as much excltided as the lall by the apoflle's 
reafoning.t' 

a Rom. iii. 27, 28. b Rom. iv. 4, 5o 

c It is eafy to forefee, tluit a grand obje61ion againft what is 
faid on this head -will be, That it is s^oine^ upon a very narrow 
fcheme, and a fchcme very uncharitable to many parties of 
Chriltians. It is the fafhiouiible lanp;uage of the age, to give 
hirge encomiums upon charity, when the defign is to level 
truth and falOiood ; and to alledge, either that there is little 
difference betAveen them, as to their eiTecls, or that they can- 
not be diRinguiihed from one another by their proper marks. 
This is a liibiefl that needs as much to be let in a proper light, 
as any I know. If the fenfe in which charity in lenliment is 
commonly underflood, viz. a favorable judgment of the opi- 
nions of ethers, be the Scripture meaning of it, then certainly 
feme bounds mail be fet to it; and it mull be praife or blame 
worthy, according to the caies in which it is exercifed. I mull 
needs take it for granted, that there are feme fundamental er- 
rors, and that it is poriiblc to make fliipwreck of the faith. 
Now, however common or falhionable it may be, to think, the 
farther charity is extended the better : it may be demondrated, 
that a favorable judgment of errors fundamental, or dcftri!''-live 
of religion, doth neceflarily imply either a light efleem or weak 
pcrfuaficn of the truth, or l)ot]i. This furely is no part of a 
truly CliriHian charaeler ; and if it be rightly denomiiated 
cliarity, it is !)ecome vicious bv excefs. 1 confcfs it appears 
to me, that jufliiicution by free grace is a fiindamcntal doctrine 



Sahatton through Christ* 353 

Thus I have endeavored both to explain and confirm 
the afiertion in the text, That there is no falvation in any- 
other but in Chiill. There is, however, one queftion up- 
on it which I would willingly pafs over in filence, but 
that the oinilBon of it might, to fome intelligent hearers, 
weaken the conclufion, and make them reckon the fubjedt 
incompletely handled. The quedion is, Whether an ob- 
jedive revelation and explicit difcovery of Chrift, and 
what he hath wrought, is neceflary to falvation ? or if his 
undertaking may not be the ground of acceptance for ma- 
ny who never heard of his name ? In fupport of the laft 
of thefe it is faid, That many of the ancient patriarchs 
and prophets were far from having diftindt views of the 

of tjie gofpel. If this be trie, I am not wrong in having the 
deepeft lertfe of the danger of contrary opinions : nay, if I arrt 
millaken, the confequences I draw from it, are no breaches of 
charity, but the neccffary ef[e5ls of an error in judgment ; and 
fo I claim charity in my turn from my adverfuries upon their 
own principles. 

But I am perfuaded the above is not the meaning of the Worcl 
Charity in Scripture, but that it means an ardent and unfeign- 
ed love to others, and a dehre of their welfare, temporal and 
eternal ; and may very well confiftwith the flrongefl abkorrence 
of their wicked principles. We do liud indeed in Scripture 
many charges, not to iud;<e one another, mutually to forbear 
one another in things indiHerent, and noc to fuppofe that men's 
outward aa-iions proceed from a bad principle which they do 
not profefa. But this is never called charity ; and it is, by the 
reafoning on it, exprefsly limited to things really indifferent 
in their nature. (Se^i the xivth and xvth chapters of the epiftle 
to the Romans.) Perhaps it will be faid, fome may judge 
things to be neceffary, which in truth are but indifferent. This 
cannot be denied ; but there is no help for it. It is a confe- 
quence of the imperfection of human nature. Yet flill every 
man mull judge for himfelf, and muft diitinguiih between 
things indifferent and necelfary, in the beft manner he can. 
It is very remarkable, that tlie apofile John, who fpeaks moft 
of the importance of charity and mutual love, hath alfo per- 
h.aps the itrongeil expreffions of any of the apolllts, ^c\ the 
hatefulncfs and danger of error. Thus he fays in his fecond 
epiftle, ver. 10, II. '' If there come any unto you, and brino* 
*' not this dotlrine, receive him not into your houfe, neither 
" bid him God Ijjv-cd. hor he that biddeth him God fpced.- is 
" pariaker cf his evU deeds." 

Vqx, M. . Y y 



354 ^^^^ Absolute Necessity of 

peiTon, chara6ler, and work of Chrifl: ; and if (as all fap- 
pofe) his undertaking was available for their acceptance, 
why not of others alfo ? On fuch a queltion, no doubt, 
modefly and caution is highly commendable, and perhaps 
it were wife in fome refpefts to fufpend the determination 
altogether. But there are cafes in which it comes necef- 
farily to be conlidered : for inllance, I do not fee how it 
can be avoided, in fpeaking of the importance or necellity 
of propagating the gofpel among the nations that know 
not God. 

We may therefore obferve, that the only jufl founda- 
tion of our hope in God, either for ourfelves or others, ef- 
pecially as finners, is his promife. The firli of thefe 
ought to be precifely commenfurate to the lad. In fo far 
as it is defective, or falls ihort of this meafure, we are 
chargeable with unbelief; and in fo far as it exceeds, 
with prefumption. Now, to whomfoever the true God is 
revealed in any meafure, as merciful and gracious, for- 
giving iniquity, tranfgreffion and fm; however obfcurely 
he points out the meritorious caufe of pardon, if they be- 
lieve his word and accept of his mercy, they fliall be fav- 
ed; as we are told, " Abraham believed God, and it was 
" counted to him for righteoufnefs."*:; As to any others, 
if they are in abfolute ignorance of the true God, we mulk 
fay, that there doth not appear, from Scripture, any ground 
on which to affirm, that the efficacy of Chrifl's death ex- 
lends to them : on the contrary, we are exprefsly told, 
that they have " no hope.''^ We find indeed in fcrip- 
ture, that the difplay of divine perfeftion in the works of 
creation, and the conduct of Prcvldence, is reprefented as 
rendering the heathens inexcufable in their contempt and 
negledt of God : " Neverthelefs he left not himfclf with- 
*' out witnefs, in that he did good, and gave us rain from 
*' heaven, and fruitful feafons, filling our hearts with food 
** and gladnefs.^ Becaufe that which may be known af 
*' God is manifeil in them ; for God hath fliewed it unto 
" diem. For the invifible things of him from the creation 

« Rom. iv. 3- ^' Seo llic foiecited puITa^e, Eph. ii. \2* 
r Acls >:iv. 17- 



Sahadon through Christ, 355 

*' of the world are clearly feen, being underllood by the 
** things that are made, even his eternal power and god- 
*' head ; fo that they are without excufe."<:? Should any 
defire from thefe paffages to infer, that if any of them 
made a jufl and dutiful ufe of thefe natural notices of God, 
he would not fruftrate their fearch, but would lead them 
to the faving knowledge of himfelf, I have nothing to ob- 
je6l againft the general pofition ; but I am afraid it will 
be difficult to make any other legitimate ufe of this con- 
ceffion than the apofile has made already, that they are 
" without excufe" in their eflrangement from God. One 
thing more we are authorifed from Scripture to fa}', that 
their guilt is in proportion to their means of knowledge ; 
that they continue in their natural ilate, and are not 
chargeable with the fin of rejecting the gofpel which they 
never heard : " For as many as have finned without law, 
*' Ihall alfo perifli without law; and as many as have fin- 
*' ned in the law, fliall be judged by the law."^ 

I proceed now to the fecond thing propofed, which was. 
To make a few refleftions on this fcheme; and fliew, that 
it is not only moft felf- confident, but mofl agreeable to 
the other parts of fcripture, as well as to the vifible flate 
of the world; and therefore that thofe who, in reafoning 
with infidels, depart from it in any meafure, do thereby 
betray the caufe vdiich they profefs to fupport. 

We have many proofs of the ingenuity and art of per- 
fons under the power of prejudice, in evading the force, 
or wrelling the meaning of particular texts of fcripture ; 
and therefore it mufl: ferve much for the confirmation of 
any do6lrine, that it is not only fupported by exprefs paf- 
fages, but agreeable to the ('train and fpirit of the whole. 
That this is the cafe with the doclrine in queflion, I might 
fliew at great length : at prefent I content niyfelf with 
the few following refledions. ift, There is nothing more 
frequently dr more undeniably found in fcripture, than a 
celebration of the rich mercy and free grace of God in 
Chrill Jefus, in fuch language as will fcarce accord with 
any other plan than that which I have above endeavore;J 
to explain and fupport. It has been a remark frequently 
a Rom. i. 19, 20. b Rom. ii. 12. 



55^ 77^^' Absolute lu'cessity of 

made, of the juflice of which every ferious perufer of the 
facred writings will be fenfible, that the infpired penmen 
feem, as it were, to be railed and elevated above their or- 
dinary pitch when they are on this theme, and that both 
in the Old and New Teltament. Wherever there is a 
ftriking paiTage in the poetic, or prophetic writings, con- 
taining fentiments of the mofl rapturous joy, or moll ar- 
dent gratitude, there \vt may be fure is a prophecy of 
Chrift, See the Pfahniil David often thus diilinguilhing 
himlelf, particularly in the following palTage : " His name 
*' ihall endure forever : his name fliall be continued as 
*' long as the fun : and men fhall be bleffed in him ; and 
*' all nations (hall call him blefTed. Bleffed be the Lord 
*' God, the God of Ifrael, v/ho only doth wondrous things. 
*' And bleffed be his glorious name forever ; and let the 
*' whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and A- 
*^ nien."^ 

The apoftle Paul alio, not only when exprefsly handling 
the fubjett, but even when he accidentally meets with it 
in the illufiration of another argument, feems to fire at 
the thought, and either expatiates upon it with a profufion 
of eloquence and energy of expreifion ; or coliedls as it 
were, his whole force, and furprifes us more, by dilpatch. 
ing it at one fingle mafierly firoke.^ 

Now, I would afk, Why fo many encomiums on the 
mercy and grace of God in pardoning finners through 
Chrilt, if his undertaking had not been abfolutely necef- 
fary for their recovery ? Whence could arife fo deep an 
obligation to gratitude, if our ftate had not been abfolutely 
deplorable, or if relief could have been obtained from any 
other quarter ? There mull furely be a great impropriety 
in the Scripture-language on this fubjcd, when uied by 
fome perfons agreeably to their other fentiments. And 
indeed their being very fparing of thia language, avoiding 
it as much as poffible, and dwelling with mcfl pleafure on 
different themes, is a tacit confeflion and acknowledgment 
of this truth. 

« Pfal, Ixxii. 17, 18, 19. b Sec an inftance of the firft of theft?, 
Eph. iii. 17, and of the lad, 1 Cor. xvi. ?:?, 



Salvation through Christ, 357 

But, befides the mercy of God to the world In general 
in fending his Son to redeem us who were fold under fin, 
we find in fcripture many Itrong declarations of the infi- 
nite mercy of God in fending the tidings of ialvation to 
thofe who were ignorant of them before. This appears 
from feveral of the pafiages formerly cited, and many 
more that might be added. I only mention one of the 
apoftle Paul, recorded in the Acls of the Apoftles : " Be 
" it known therefore unto you, that the falvation of God 
*' is fentunto the Gentiles, and that they will hear W'a 
Nov/, what is meant by this ? Were thefe Gentiles in a 
way of falvation before ? and what benefit did they reap 
from this intelligence ? If it be faid, that they were com- 
paratively in a more advantageous fituation than before ; 
this when firiftly examined, will be found to draw after it 
all the confequences fo difagreeable to the pride of man, 
for which the other fuppofition is reje61;ed. Or rather, 
when their comparative advantages are carried fo far as to 
give any thing like a confident meaning to the above and 
other paffages of Scripture, it will amount entirely to the 
fame thing. For 1 hope no Chrifiian will aflert, that any 
perfon in the world, who hath the exercife of reafon, is 
under a Natural, but only a Moral impoifibility,^ of co- 
ming to the knowledge, and doing the will of God. If the 
firll were the cafe, it would take away all fin ; but the laft 
is only fuchan obdinate difinclination, as is Hill confifl:ent 
with guilt and blame. 

a Acls xxviii. 28. 
I I ufc the words Natural and Moral impoflibility in the 
fenfe in which they are iiled by the authors who hill applied 
that diRhi6lion to fubjecls of philofophy and divinity, and not 
in the abturd lei)fs in which fome late infidel writers do obfti- 
nately pcrfift in iifing them. Thefe gentlemen, inftead of 
raeaninp; by Natural or Phyfical neceflity or im.poffibility, that 
which arifes from the irrefdlible operation of the laws of nature, 
and by Moral, a high degree of probability from concurring 
circumftances, tell us, that Phyfical neceflity is what arifes 
from the laws of matter ; and Moral, that which arifes from 
the laws of mind or fpirit. But nothing can be more evident, 
than that any influence from without upon mind or fpirit, if it 
be irrefiftible, is as much phyfical or natural neceflity as any 
other. And the diftinclion thus explained, or perverted, is 
Utterly ufelefs, when applied to morals. 



35S The Absolute Necessity of 

Another refleflion we may make on this fubje£l, That 
according to the conftant tenor of the holy Scripture, not 
only an offer of mercy for Chrill's fake mull be made to 
the fmner, but a change mull: be wrought on his heart 
and temper fo p;reat, as to be termed a New Creation, 
and a Second Birth. The firft of thefe is an a6t of the 
divine government, the lafl is a work of divine power. 
Now, I would beg leave to afk, How and where is this 
to be expefted ? It cannot furely proceed from the influ- 
ence of fabulous deities, or be the effeft of idolatrous rites. 
It is not the work of man, and therefore only of the Spirit 
of Chrifl. Should any think fit to prefume, that the lane- 
tfifying infiuences of the holy Ghoft are beftowed univer- 
fally, though unknown to the receivers; this again anni- 
hilates ail the fuperior advantages of ChrilHans; and, on 
the very beft poffible fuppofition, is an affertion thrown 
out at random, and altogether deftitute of fupport from 
the oracles of truth. 

A third obfervation I would make, That this fcheme 
alone makes the foundation of the gofpel fufFicient to bear 
thefiiperllru6:ure. Nothing ell'e can fufTiciently account 
for the cofl and ex pence, if I may fpeak fo, that have been 
laid out in the redempdon of man. It is very evident, that 
both the prophets in the Old Teftament, and the apollles 
in the New, are at great pains to give us a view of the 
glory and dignity of the PERSON of CHRIST. With 
what magnificent titles is he adorned ? What glorious at- 
tributes are afcribed to him ? And what mighty works are 
faid to be done by him ? All thefe confpire to teach us, 
that he is truly and properly God, God over all, blcfled 
for ever. On the other hand, How much is his humilia- 
tion and abafement infiPicd on ; the reproach and con- 
tempt of his liie, the pain and ignouiiny of his death 'i 
And the infinite value of his llifferings, arifing from thefe 
two united confiderations? -Nothing can more plainly fliew 
the guilt and mifcry of man, than that fo great a perfon 
Ihould be employed in refcuing him, fo infinite a price 
paid for his ranfom. If fuch a propitiation was nccellar)/- 
Jpr the htirs of glory, how hopclefs mull be the Hate gf 



Sahat'ion through Christ. 359 

thofe who have no claim to, orinterefl: in, or Jcpcndence 
upon it ta 

The lad obfervation T am to make at prefent, is, That 
the fcheme above laid down, is alio mod agreeable to the 
vifible Hate of the world, and turniflies the plain and the 
only lufiicient anfwer to the old objefhion againll the 
Chrillian revelation, the want of univerfality. This af- 
fertion to fome will appear furprifing, as it Teems to have 
been on purpofe to avoid or anfwer this objeftion, that ali 
the other opinions have been formed. However, they 
Hill leave the objedlion in all its force; nay, it is often fup- 
ported and flrengthened by the reafonings upon them. 
But, on the principles above laid down, it is capable of 
the following plain and eafy foliition. It is of the infinice 
mercy and free grace of God, that he^did not leave all 
mankind to periih in a flate of fin and mifery. Where 
then lies the difficulty in believing, that fome only, and 
not all, are faved, or are furniflied v/ith the means of falva- 
tion ? If all are jullly liable to wrath, upon which the 
whole gofpel is built, mercy to a part can never be impro- 
bable, or unworthy of God, on account of the ruin in the 
re(i: fo that the objection can only take its rife from doubt 
or difbelief of that firft and fundamental truth. 

If a prince had a number of traitors in his power, whofe 
treafon was of the mofl: aggravated and inexcufable kind, 
and we fhould be informed that he had granted a free par- 
don to fome, and left the refi tofufFer the jufi: punifliment 
of their crime; would it be the leafl: objection againil his 
clemency, that it extended only tc a icIeG; number of the 
ouend:.Ms ? or would it be any jull impeachment of his 
management, or render the intelligence incredible, fup- 
pofing the prince to be wife, as well as gracious ? The 
cafe is precifely the Aime with God. If it be but granted, 
that it is Mercy extended to thole who efcape, this abfo- 

ci It 13 a flron<j confirmation of this, that it holds alniuil 
\rithout exception, in comparing the fentiments and fchemes 
cf the different parties of Chrifiians, that thofe v/ho have the 
flighted fc-nfe of the necefllty of atonement, and the greatcll 
bias to a felf-righteous plan, are always moft difpofed to Iclfen 
the glory of our Redeemer's perfon ; lean mofl to, or jud^e 
Bioft favorably of the Socinian or Avian hypothefis^ 



360 Tloe Absolute Necessity of 

lately deHroys the force of any objeflion that can he 
drawn from the number or clrcumftances of thofe that 
perifii. 

There is in this refped a beautiful and in(lru6live ana- 
logy between the courfc of divine Providence, and the me- 
thods of divine grace; and much in both mufl: be refolved 
into the vvifdom and fovereignty of God. There is an 
immenfe variety in the dillribution both of natural ad- 
vantages and Ipiritual blefliugs ; and it is vain for us to 
expert that we fiiould be able to aflign the whole, or in- 
deed almod any, of the grounds either of the one or the 
other. But if neither fort is merited, if both are the cf- 
fe6ls of free undeferved bounty, this cuts off all cauie of 
complaint; and as to the difference which we obferve in 
fadt, particularly with regard to the lall, we mull be con- 
tent to fiiy, with the apoflle Paul, " For God hath concki- 
" ded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy up- 
*' on all. O the depth of the riches both of the wifdom and 
*' knowledge of God ! How unfearchiible are his judg- 
" ments, and his ways pafl finding out !"^ 

From thefe obfervations it will plainly appear, that de- 
parting from the principles above laid down, is a very 
great injury to the caufc of truth, and llrengthens that of 
infidelity. If they are foundc:d upon the word of Gocl, as 
I hope has been lufficiently proved, then no good can pof- 
fibly flow from foftening or difguifing them, in order to 
leffen their oppofition to the pride and prejudices of cor- 
rupt minds. Has fuch conduA in ladt leffened the num- 
ber of infidels, or reconciled them to the doftrine ofClirifl? 
On the contrary, have they not become more numerous, 
and more bold in their oppofition to the gospel, in pro- 
portion to the attempts that have been and are made to 
fuit it to their tafce ? Nay, have they not made ufe of in- 
numerable paffages from ChrilUan writers in fupport of 
tlieir own caufer For in all fuch cafes, as Chriflians fpeak 
merely the language of natural religion, or magnify the 
prefent powers of the human mind, in order to rear up a 
lc:lf- righteous fcheme, they are confidered by infidels, and 
julfly, not as defending the gofpel with fuccefs, but as 
c Rom. xi. 32, 33. 



Sahation through Christ^ 361 

yielding up the great point in debate, and coming over to 
their own party. 

I proceed now to make fome pra6llcal improvement of 
this I'ubje^l:. And, in the 

I ft place, From what hath been faid, you may fee the 
real, the unl'peakable moment of propagating Chriftiaa 
knowledge. It is indeed, fo far as it is cordially embraced, 
turning men " from darknefs to light, and from the pow- 
" er of Satan unto God." Thefe words have a deep and 
interefting meaning, if underftood as above, but not other- 
wife. Let us only fuppofe thofe who deny or call in 
queftion the abfolute neceffity of falvation through Chrift, 
employed as mifTionaries in converting the PJeathens : 
how cold, how ambiguous and inconclufive the arguments 
with which they would endeavor to prefs the change ! 
But the view of it given above, mufl in the ftrongeft man- 
ner diipofe every ferious perfon to fupport fuch a deiign, 
and powerfully animate to diligence thofe who are em- 
ployed in carrying it into execution. 

It is allowed by all, that doing good, and communica- 
ting happinefs, is the moft excellent character; that pro- 
moting the intereft of our brethren of mankind, is a na- 
tural fruit and ex predion of our love to God, and an imi- 
tation of the divine benignity. But what comparifon is 
there between any adls of beneficence that regard only the 
prefent life and the welfare of the body, and thofe that 
affect the everlafting intereft of an immortal fpirit ? As 
far as God's redeeming grace is fuperior to his providenti- 
al care, fo far muft our fincere and fuccefsful endeavors to 
promote the falvation of the foul, excel any relief or help 
we can give to the v/ants of the body. 

The laft of thefe purpofes, however, is often celebrated 
by infidels, in oppofition to the other, which they delight 
in treating with derifion and fcorn. But as nothing can 
be more evident than its comparative excellence, fuppo- 
iiag its reality ; fo there is not the leaft contrariety be- 
tween the two defigns: fo far from it, that they are ftrong- 
}y connecled togetlier, and are always beft promoted in 
conjuntlion. There may be indeed fuigle inftances of 
perfons, fmm oft^nt.vdon or other falfe motives, parting 

Vol. \h Z z 



362 The Ahsohue Necessity of 

with tr;eir gocds to feed the pcor, who have no true love 
to God or their brethren. But in general, it is certain, 
that thofe who have "their treafure in heaven; who love 
" not the v.'orld, nor the things of the v/orld ;" (which, 
hovvever hard a faying it may appear, is the real chara61:er 
of every Chriflian) v;ill more cafily communicate of what 
they pofieis to thofe who Hand in need. True religion 
always enlarges the heart, and ftrengthens the focial tie. 
Every believer mult view his poor brethren in feveral en- 
dearing lights, as children of the lame heavenly father, 
as under the lame original guilt, dependent on the lame 
Saviour, and preparing for the fame judgment; whereas 
wicked men, however various their chara6\ers, do habitu- 
ally, by luxury and felf-indulgence of fome kind or other, 
feed their pride, increafe their wants, and inflame their 
appetites. This not only gives them a narrow turn of 
mind, but often walles their fubltance ; and fo necefTari- 
\y obllrudls their liberality, by taking away both the in- 
clination and ability to bellow. 

And as thofe who have a jufl concern for the everlafiing 
interell of others, will be mofl difpofed to relieve their 
prefent diftrefles ; fo the bounty of fuch will always be 
bell diretled, and followed with the happiell eHedls. They 
never feparate the two great ends, of making men happy 
in this world, and heirs of eternal life; and will therefore 
have it as their chief care, to promote induUry and fobrie- 
ty in all whom they take upon them to fupply. It is too 
often feen, that what is dignified Vv^ith the fined names, 
and reprefented as the efTt-ct of generofit3% humanity, and 
companion, is wholly without merit in the giver, perni- 
cious and hurlful to the receiver. Hov/ many dilfolute 
livers are not covetous, only becaufe they are under the 
dominion of a contrary pafTioa .'' In the mean time, what 
they btflow, is either entirely thrown away by an indif- 
criminate profufion; or, as is more commonly the cafe, it 
is worfe than thrown away, being confined to the moll 
Worthlefs of all wretches, who are their aflillants or com- 
panions in their crimes. In oppofiiicn to this, a real 
Chriflian, fu premely governed by the love of God, will 
dirt^ every ac\io.n to his glory ; and while compaflicn, 



Sahatlon through Chnst. 3^3 

ftrensthened by a fenfe of duty, excites him to deal his 
breacf to the huniTry, he will have a ilill fiiperlor fohcitude 
to preferve them from fin. InRead of an injudicious fup- 
ply of Riel to their luft, which is eafy to a ilothful, and 
gratifying to a carnal mind, he will endeavor to fit them, 
for heaven, by fuitable inRruaion; and refcne them from 
want and idlenefs in this world, by lawful induilry. 

Thefe two great purpofes have been jomtly ])romoted 
by the fbciety in Scotland lor propagating Chriftian knovy- 
led'^e. They have been promoted with a molt laudable 
zeal and diligence, and with a fuccefs fully equal to the 
means the fociety are pofTeffed or fnrnilTied with for carry- 
in^^them on. The promoting of true rehgioQ, loyalty 
and induRry, in the highlands of Scotland, was the hrlt 
obiea of their care: and the importance of encom-aging 
it hos bsen reprefented in the llrongeR light on many 
former occafions of this fort, and is well known. But 
there is another part of their defign, to fpread the know- 
led,<7e of Chrift, the only Saviour of finners, among the un- 
enltghtened Heathen nations. On this, the fubjeft of my 
difcourfe leads me to fpeak a little more particularly. 

Of the importance of fuch a defign every one who be- 
lieves the ^rofpel muft be fenfible. But, except the very 
relb-iaed efforts of the fociety, little or nothing has ever 
been attempted by the Britifli nation. And is not God, 
in his righteous Providence towards us at prefent, manir 
fefllv and feverelv puniQiing us for this negledl ? Are we 
not 'engaged in war with a potent and formidable neigh- 
bor, ln^vhich the fupreme Difpofer of all events hath vifi- 
bly'written difappointment on every one of our attempts? 
Did not this war take its rife from the difputed limits of 
our territories in Am.erica? And are not our colonies in 
that part of the world expofed to the moft cruel and mer- 
cilefs depredations? Are not families, which ought to be 
quiet and peaceable habitations, frequently alarmed in the 
filence of the night with the cry of war; and the tendereft 
relations often butchered in each other's prefence, and 
diat by a people of a llrange language, while the weak nro- 
ther and helplefs infant can only lift a fupplicating eye, 
put canr.ot aik for ir.ercyr Who then are the inHruments 



364 'The Absolute Necessity of 

of this cruelty? Mud we not anfwer, Thofe very Indians, 
a great part ot' whore territory we poffefs, and whom, with 
a conteiTipt equally impolitic and unchriftian, we fuffer 
.to continue in ignorance of the only living and true God, 
and Jefus Chrift whom he hath font ? 

Such a particular interpretation of the language of Pro- 
vidence may be thought bold ; but there are many cir- 
cumflances which, in a manner, conflrain us to confefs 
its propriety. We have been a nation early and long fa- 
vored with the light of divine truth, and are therefore 
bound to communicate it to others. That dillant country 
was a refuge to many of our pious forefathers, when flying 
from the rage of ecclefialiic tyranny ; and the territory 
either taken from, or ceded to us by thefe people, has been 
the great fource of wealth and power to this nation. But 
what feems chiefly to warrant this application is, that the 
care taken by our enemies to convert the Indians, is the 
chief, if not the fingle caufc of their fuperior intereft 
among that people. Their free, independent manner of 
living, makes the Britidi temper, charafter, and culloms, 
in all other refpects more agreeable to them. But being 
once converted, not to the Chriilian faith, but to the Ro- 
tnifli fuperftition, they are inviolably attached to the 
French intereft. And that politic, but fraudulent nati- 
on, are able to cover and excufe their own treacherous 
defigns, by the ungovernable and favage barbarity of their 
Indian allies. 

Can there be therefore a more noble, a more important, 
or more neceflary exercifc of Chridian charity, than ena- 
bling the fociety to carr}^ on their ufeful and falutsry 
fchemes, efpecially to extend their mifiions to the Indian 
tribes? Who that knows the value of immortal fouls, can 
refufe to contribute his fliare in promoting this excellent 
defign? AVho that fears the j nil judgment and clilpleafure 
of God, can refufe to take this liep, amongll others, evi- 
dently neceflary for averting his threatened vengeance ? 
And who that loves his Redeemer's nanie, but mult dcfire 
that it fliould be adored from the rifmg to the fetting fun ? 
The boldncfs and activity of finners in fpreading every 
fpecies of corruption, fliould exgite an emulation in bw*- 



Sahation through Christ. 365 

lievers not to be behind hand in the fervice of a much 
i)etter m after. Have we not feen much profane zeal dif- 
covered in fupport of the moft pernicious and criminal 
amufements, which-confume time, enervate the body, and 
pollute the mind? And fliall there not be a like concern 
to promote knowledge and holinefs in the uncivilized 
parts of our own country, and to carry the glad tidings of 
the gofpel of peace to thofe who now lit in darknefs, and 
in the region and fliadow of death? Are there not many 
to whom the name of a Saviour is precious, " even as 
" ointment poured forth ;" who burn with defire, that 
the riches of divine grace, which can never be exhaufted, 
may be more largely diffufed ? And will not ail fuch 
chearfully and liberally contribute to extend the bounds 
of their Redeemer's kingdom, in the profpedl of that bleff- 
ed time, when the knowledge of God fliall cover the earth 
as the waters cover the fea ? Or of that ftiU more glori- 
ous period, when every veflel of mercy, from the eaft, 
weft, north and fouth, fhall be gathered together, and fit 
down with Abraham, and Ifaac, ajid Jacob, in the king- 
dom of their Father ? 

I fliall now conclude my difcourfe, by preaching this 
Saviour to all who hear me, and intreating you, in the 
moft earneft manner, to believe in Jefus Chrift; " for there 
• '■ is no falvation in any other." This is far from being 
unneceflary or improper, even in an audience of profelT- 
ing Chriftians. Wherever there is a national profeflion 
of the gofpel, there are always many who, though they re- 
tain the name of Chriftians, are ftrangers to real faith in 
Chrift, or union with God through him ; nay, who in their 
hearts are enemies to the truth in its ftmplicity and purity. 
It is in vain to attempt, by reafoning, to bring men to an 
acknowledgment of the truth of the Chriflian doclrine in 
fpeculation, unlefs v/e alfo bring them to fu^h a perfonal 
conviclion of their guilt and wretchednefs, as will make 
them receive the information of Chrift's character and 
work, as glad tidings to their own fouls. No other con- 
verts receive any benefit themfelves by the change ; nor 
are they of any fervice to Chrift and his caufe, except fp 



;^66 The Absolute Necessity of 

far as they are over-ruled by the fovereign providence of 
that God who only can '' bruig good out of evii." 

"Wherefore, my beloved hearers, be perfuaded, from the 
word of God, which you profefs to believe, from the Hate 
of the world, which you may fee, and of your own hearts, 
which you may feel, that you are by nature wretched, and 
miferable, and poor, and blind, and naked. You are fo 
far from having fuch a conformity to the pure and perfect 
law of God, in your thoughts, words, and actions, and the 
principles from which they ought to flow, as can entitle 
you to his favor, that the imaginations of your hearts are 
only evil from your youth, and that continually. What- 
ever imaginary fchemes of a virtuous chara6ler you may 
red or glory in, you are wliolly unable to ftand the trial of 
God's impartial judgment. Oh ! how hard is it to con- 
vince men of fm, even while the earth groans under their 
guilt ? Would but thofe who are moH: apt to boall of the 
dignity of their nature, and the perfcclion of their virtue, 
make an exadl regifter of all the thoughts that arife in their 
minds; there remains ilill as much of t'"'e lav/ of God 
written upon their hearts, as would judge them out of 
their own mouths. Inltead of being able to bear that fuch 
a record lho;ild be expofcd to public view, they could not 
even endure them fel vers to perufe it: for felf-flattery 12 
their ruling charafter, but feif-abhorrence would be the 
effecl of this difcovery. Ought you not therefore to be 
ready to acknowledge, that you are altogether as an un- 
clean thing, and unable to Hand before God if he enter 
into judgment ? But Vv'hether you acknowledge it or not, 
I bear from God himfelf this melfage to you all, that what- 
ever may be your charadU'r, foruied upon worldly max- 
im.s, and animated by anVoitious and v/orldly viev/s, if 
you are not reconciled to God through Jefus Chrift, if 
you are not clothed with the fpotlefs robe of his righteouf- 
nefs, you mull for ever perifli. 

But behold, througli this man is preached unto you the 
forgivenefs of fins. There is a fuhnefs of merit in his obe- 
dience and death to procure your pardon. There is no 
fm of fo deep a dye, or fo infectious a Itain, but his blood 
is fufilcient to walli it out. This is no new doctrine, or 



Sahation through Christ. 367 

modern dUcovery, to gratify a curious mind. Perhaps 
you have heard fuch things fo often, that you naufeate and 
difdain the repetition. But they are the words of eternal 
life, on which your fouls' falviuion abfolutely depends ; 
and therefore, though this call Hiould come but once more 
to be rejeded, it is yet again within your offer ; and as 
"• an ambaflador from Chrifi:, as though God did befeech 
" you by me, I pray you in Chrili's ftead be ye reconciled 
" unto God." You have heard the danger of all who are 
without Chrifi ; but 1 befeech you remember the aggra- 
vated guilt, and the fuperior danger of thofe v/ho continue 
obflinate under the gofpel. All the mercy that is fliown 
to finners in the offer, fhall inflame the charge againft them 
in the great day, if they are found impenitent. Mercy 
and juftice are never feparated In any part of the gofpel 
plxin. They illuflrate each other In the contrivance, they 
fnine together on the crofs, and they fliall be jointly ma- 
nlfell; in the day of judgment. Shall not the blood of 
Chrld, which is fo powerful in its influence for taking 
away the guilt of thofe who trull in it, greatly add to the 
guilt and danger of thofe \!vho defpife It ? " Be wife now, 
'- therefore, O ye kings," and all of every rank ; " be in- 
*' flrufted, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with 
" fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kifs the Son, left he 
'' be angry, and ye perifli from the way, when his wrath 
" is kindled but a little: blelled are all they that put their 
'" truft in him."<i 

a Pfal. ii. \Q, W, 12. 



[ 369 3 



J'J^j 



AN 



INQUIRY 

J. X T T ll E 

SCRIPTURE MEANING 

OF 

€ H A R I T Y. 



IN a note in the fermon on A(fts iv. 12. " Neither is 
" there lalvation in any other," the reader will find, 
that I have intimated two things : i. That if a favorable 
judgment of the opinions of others, be the fcripture mean- 
ing of c^^zr/'/y, then certainly fome bounds mull be fet to 
it; and it mud be praife or blame worthy, according to 
the cafes in which it is exercifed. 2. That I am inclined 
to think, that this is not the meaning of the word in fcrip- 
ture ; but that it means an ardent and unfeigned love to 
others, and a defire of their welfare, temporal and eternal ; 
and may very well confift with the ftrongeft abhorrence of 
their wicked principles, and the deepefl concern for their 
dangerous Hate. At the fame time it was hinted, that 
this Ibbjeifi; deferved a more diflinil: and full illulb'ation. 
I was fnfhciently aware, even at the time of writing, that 
this declaration v/ould bring down upon me the high di.f- 
pleafure cA certain perfons. And fo indeed it happened, 
to fuch a de;Tree, that fome, according to their wonted 
Ccindor, and (in their own fenfe) moil charitable interpre- 
YoL. II. ' -:: A 



37^ -^ft Inquiry into the 

tation, have afRrmed, that I had in that pafTage, openly 
declared aj];ain{t charity. This hath induced me, on no- 
tice of afecond edition being intended, to offer a few re- 
flei^lions onthisfubjeft; which I hope fliall be conduced 
in as cool and critical a manner, as can in reafon be de- 
fired, that I may not offend againfl charity, even when 
writing upon the l"ubje6l. 

Let me begin by fettling precifely the fubjefl of the in- 
quiry. It will, or at leall ought to be, acknowledged, that 
with many the current meaning of the word charity is, 
to have a favorable opinion of the fentiments of others, 
who are fuppofed to differ from us; that is to fay (for it is 
not very eafy to define it clearly) to think, that they are 
innocently miflaken in judgment, and that they have as 
honeflly inquired after truth as ourfelves ; and therefore to 
conclude, that as perfons truly fincere, and acting accord- 
ing to their light, they fliall meet with the final acceptance 
of God. That this is the meaning with many, if it Ihould 
be denied, I prove from the following circumllance, that 
charity in fentiment, or charity in general (except when 
it is taken in a limited fenfe, as fignifying bouncy to the 
poor) is always applied to thofe who differ from us, and 
never to thofe v/ho agree with us; and indeed it is about 
the difference that it is fuppofed to be exerciied. 

I. Now, theyfr^r thing 1 obferve upon this is, that if 
the above be the fcripture meaning of charity, then cer- 
tainly fome bounds mull be fet to it; and it mull be praife 
or blame-worthy according to the cafes in which it is ex- 
ercifed. I make this fuppofilion, becaufe though it is 
propofed in the courfe of thefe remarks, to fliow, that the 
above is not the fcripture meaning of the word; yet there 
is really, within certain limits, a duty of this kind pre- 
fcribed to u£ in fcripture, but never called charity. The 
duty I mean is mutual forbearance, and guarding againft 
rafli judgment ; but it is remarkable, that neither in the 
defcription of this duty, nor in the arguments urging to 
the pradice of it, is the word charily, or the neceffity of 
charity, ever once introduced. <:/ The proper objcds of 

c I do not know whether I fliould call it an exception f om 
this, thut in cue palTage, when the ApoiUe Ptvul is (peaking- of 



Scripture meaning of Charily, ^^.f. 

forbearance are matters of indifference, or rather matters 
of comparatively fmall moment; and the fin of rafli judg- 
ing confifls in believing things to be of more moment 
than they are, and attributing outward aiSlions or expref- 
lions to bad motives or principles, without neceflity. I 
fay, without necelFity ; becaufe it is allowed by every ju- 
dicious and accurate writer upon rafh judging, that a per- 
fon cannot be chargeable with this fin, merely for think- 
ing ill of another's temper or practice, upon clear and ir- 
refifiible evidence. To do otherwife, in many cafes, is 
either wholly impoffible, or argues a weaknefs of under- 
ftanding ; which cannot be the objedt of approbation, nor 
confequently of imitation. 

Let us therefore fuppofe, that this duty of forbearance, 
which indeed I take to be wholly diftindt in its nature, is 
the charity fo flrongly recommended, and fo highly ap- 
plauded in fcripture, and that it is to be exercifed with 
regard to the opinions of others. In that cafe it muft have 
certain bounds, for the following reafons, 

I. If it were otherwife, we fliould then either want a 
meaning for many declarations and precepts in fcripture; 
or, which is worfe, fliould perceive them to be evidently 
abfurd and ill founded. That I may not tire the reader, 
I fliall not adduce the tenth part of what is faid on this 
fubjeft in fcripture ; but muft: beg of him to weigh the 
following paffaqes, and to make fome refledlions on their 
manifell purpofe : Jude v. 3,4, " Beloved, when I gave 
" all diligence to write unto you of the common falvati- 
" on, it was needful for me to write unto you, and ex- 
" hort you, that ye fliould earneflly contend for the faith 
" which was once delivered unto the faints. For there 
" are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of 

the oppoiite fins, of judging others on the one hand, or defpi- 
fing them on the other, he introduces walking charitably. But 
it is in a fenfe quite oppofite to what it would have been ufed 
in by one pleading for the modern chaiity. It is not the man 
*vl,o judges raflily that he charges with uncharitablenefs, but 
him who defpifeth his weak brother, and is at no pains to 
avoid giving offence: Rom. xiv. 15. "But if thy brother b? 
** grieved with thy meat, now walked thou not charitably, 
>> IJeftroy not him with thy meat fo;- y/hom Chrifi died/' 



372 An Inquiry info the 

" old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turn- 
** ing the grace of our God into lafcivioidhefo, and deny- 
" ing the only Lord God, and our Lord Jel'us Chrlil." — 
Here I think is plainly a duty with regard to opinions, 
altogether different from that of forbearance. The one 
requires us not fo much as to judge our brethren ; the 
other requires us to contend earneilly with them. The 
one fuppofcs the trifling difterence to be wliolly burietl ; 
the other implies, that it fliould be kept clearly in view, 
and all poflible pains taken to fupport the truth, and to 
refute the error. The one fuppofes entire peace and uni- 
on ; the other implies a firm and refolute oppofition, fo as 
to come to no terms which imply confentor approbation. 
The phrafeology through the whole paffage teaches us to 
interpret it as I have done ; " There are certain men," 
fays he, "crept in unawares;" plainly fignifying, that 
if they had not crept in fecretly, they would not, or ougl.it 
not to have been fufiered to come in openly. Now, if 
charity and forbearance be the fame thing, here are fome 
perfons defcribed, whom we are not to forbear, and confe- 
quently for whom we are to have no charity: therefore it 
inufl have fome limitation. Let it be as extenfive as you 
will, it is not boundlefs. 

Titus i. lo, II, 13. " For there are many unruly and 
*' vain talkers and deceivers, efpecially they of the cir- 
*' cumcifion: whofe mouths mull be ilopped, who fubvert 
" wholahoufes, teaching things which tl^ey ought not, for 
" filthy lucre's fake. — Wherefore, rebuke them fliarply, 
*' that they may be found in the faith." Now, let me aflc 
any unprejudiced reader, whether fiiarp rebuke be not a 
very different thing from forbearance ? How can you re- 
buke thofe Vi^hom you may not lb much as judge ? or why 
fhould you attempt to make them found in the faith, if 
they are already received of God ? As it is expreffed, 
Rom. xiv. 3. Befides, what is the meaning of fubvcrting 
whole houfes .'' and of flopping the mouths of the falfe 
teachers, to prevent or remedy this fubverfion ? In the 
fame epiflle, chap. iii. 10. the apodie fays, " A man that 
*' is an heretic, after the firll and fecond admonition, re- 
f je£l.'' Does not tiiis fuppofe, that it is poflible for a 



Scripture meaning of Charity. 373 

oian to be a heretic ? Does not the aportle here ordain a 
fentence of expulfion to be paffed againfl him, after the 
pains taken to reclaim him appear to be fruitlefs ? It is 
plain, therefore, that if charity be the fame with forbear- 
ance, it mufi: have limits ; for if every body mull be for- 
born, then certainly nobody can be expelled. 

I mull not here pals by an allonifliing interpretation 
put by fome, and men of learning too, upon the following 
verfe of the fanie chapter: " Knowing that he that is fuch, 
" is fubverted and fmneth, being condemned of himfelf;" 
that is, fay fome, no man is an heretic in the fenfe of this 
palTage, but who is felf-condemned, or is ailing contrary 
to his own convidlion ; fo that he mud be rejedled, not 
for the error of his judgment, but for the obllinacy and 
depravation of his heart. I do not remember to have {ttn 
any flronger inilance of the power of prejudice, than gi- 
ving fuch a fenfe to the word self-condcrancd. If any man 
can really conceive a cafe in his own mind, of a heretic 
cbflinately perfiding in his error, and fu fieri ng for it, in 
oppofitlon to his own inward convi6lion, and at the fame 
lime this circumftance clearly afcertained as the foundati- 
on ol his fentence, I wifli he would teach me how to con- 
ceive it: at prefent it feems to me utterly impofiible. If 
any perfon thus fpeaks lies in hypocrify, is it to be fup- 
pofed, that he will confefs it? and if he do not confefs, 
how is it pofiible to prove it ? The plain meaning of be- 
ing condemned of himfelf, in this paffage, is, that his er- 
rors are fo contradiftory to the other articles of his faith, 
fuch an abjuration of his former profefhon, and generally 
tend fo much to immorality in praiSlice, that he is con- 
demned as it were out of his ovv^n mouth. 

In the 2d epiflle of John, the apoRle fays, ver. 9, 10, 11. 
" V/hofoever tranforelfeth, and abideth not in the doilrine 
" of Chrift, hath not God: he that abideUi in the dodlrine 
" of Chrifl, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there 
" come any unto you, and bring not this doftrine, receive 
" him not into your houfe ; neidier bid him God fpeed: 
" for he that biddeth him God fpeed, is partaker of his evil 
"deeds." I fliall not ftay to examine nicely the import 
of not receiving fuch a one into our hoiife, aind not bidding 



374 ^^ Inquiry into the . 

him God fpeed. It is fufficlent for my purpofe, that no 
fenfe can be put npon it low enough to make it agreeable 
to the treatment we ought to give to our brethren whom 
we are forbidden to judge. Thefe We are to receive, as 
Chrifl hath received them, and to keep the unity of the 
Spirit in the bond of peace. 

To all thefe I only add, vvithout any refledlion upon it, 
the reproof of Chrifl to the church of Pergamos: Rev. ii. 
14. " But I have a few tljings againfi: thee, becaufe thou 
*' had there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who 
♦* taught Balac to caft a ftumbling-block before the children 
*' of Ifrael, to eat things fiicrificcd unto idols, and to com- 
" mit fornication. So hall thou alfo them that hold the 
** do6lrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." 

2. If charity be the fame with forbearance, it mufl: 
have limits, or it would be the llronged impeachment of 
divine wifdom and goodnefs, in not giving marks fuffici- 
ently clear to diliinguilh truth from falfehood. If we are 
to entertain a favorable opinion of the fentiments and (late 
of others, it mufi be entirely founded on the fuppofition, 
that they have inquired with honedy and impartiality ; 
and that they are not blinded by prejudice or corrupt paf- 
fions. This I fuppofe will be readily allowed; l')ecaufe it 
is the ufual way of fpeaking or writing on the fubjeft. 

* They may be miftaken,' it is often faid, * but without 
'■ their fault : they may have freely and impartially inqui- 

* red, and yet may, after all, think differently with equal 

* fmcerity.' This, I contend, can only hold in matters of 
fmall moment, and in themfelves of a doubtful nature; 
and in thefe, the obfervation is jud, and correfponds with 
reafon, fcripture, and experience. But in truths of the 
liighed moment, if there are any fuch at all, to fuppofe that 
men equally fincere and impartial, may, notwithdanding, 
have fentiments direftly oppofite, feems to me an impeachr 
ment of divine wifdom. How can it be, uiilefs the evi- 
dencec for and againd them, be pretty equally balanced ? 
How is the judgment determined at all, but by a fort of 
compound ratio, to fpeak in the language of mathemati- 
cians, of the outward evidence, and the prepodedion of 
the mind? Strong prepoffedions will account for any opi- 



Scripture meaning of Charity. 3^5 

nion, however abfurd ; but if two perfons of equal capaci- 
ty, and equal integrity, draw oppofite conckifions on any 
queftion, it mud certainly arifc from the daubtfulnefs of 
the quellion itfelf. Now, if there be any truths of mo- 
msnt not attended with fufficient evidence, how can we 
acquit or jultify the c-onducl of Providence ? There does 
not feem to me to be any alternative; but we muft lay the 
blame either upon the evidence, or the mind; that is to 
fay, in other words, it mud be put to the charge either of 
God or man. 

3. If charity is the fame thing with forbearance, it mufi: 
have fome limits; otherwife the value of truth itfelf is 
abfolutely annihilated. If I am to believe a man in as 
fcife a Hate, and as much accepted of God, in one opinion 
as another, upon all fubje£ls, it is plain, not only that 
every truth is of equal moment with another, but that 
truth and error are of equal value. This, I think, is in- 
difputable; for if it makes no difference, either in point 
of chara6ler or Hate, I lee nothing elfe from which their 
value can be efti mated. What then becomes of all the 
fine encomiums we have on the beauty, the excellence, 
the importance of truth ? the neceffity and benefit of free- 
dom of inquiry ? It would be much better to be latisfied 
with any opinions, be they Vvhat they will, than to give 
way to doubts and fufpicions, to fatigue our minds, and 
wafte our time in long and difficult refearches. If it be 
faid, that they may be the fame as to the fincerity of the 
inquirer, but different principles may have different effects 
in practice; this is yielding up the point in debate: for if 
one opinion leads to holinefs, and another to wickednefs, 
in practice, they can never be in the fame Hate ol fafety, 
nor equally acceptable to God^ who hold thefe oppofite 
fentiments. Befides, it is common with the advocates 
Jbr this miftaken fort of charity, in order the better to fup- 
port their opinion, to deny this difference in effe(3-, and 
to fay, ' It is no matter what a man's opinions are, if his 
* life be good.' Now, it is evident, that this affertion is 
abfurd; or rather the fuppofition is impoffible, unlefs the 
inHuence of truth and falfehood upon the life, be abfolutely 
equal. Grant but the lead fuperiority or advantage to one 



'^'j6 An inquiry into the 

above the other, and the argument is deflroyed; fof if 
truth be better than falfehobd, it mull be fome matter what 
a man's opinions are, in order to his life's being good. 
How weak and inconfnlent creatures are we ! The very 
llime perlbns who make the greated ftir about a pretended 
I'earch after truth, and freedom of inquiry, will needs have 
it, that Chriltian charity implies, that all opinions are 
alike, and ought to be treated with equal rerpe(:^ : and 
then, to crown all, they give us the moil hideous pifture^ 
of the terrible effecis of fuperdition, and certain religious 
lentiments u'hich they are pleafed to condemn. Alas I 
where is the charity then ? Are all opinions equal ? Is it 
no matter what a man's opinions are, if his life be good ? 
At lad you have found out fome whofe lives are ill by the 
impulfe of their opinions. Certainly, charity, in the' 
lenfe of forbearance or approbation, is not due to them. 

4. It charity is the fame with forbearance, it mull have 
fome limits; becaufe othcrvv'ife things would be carried to 
an extravagant length; and fuch cafes might be injjpofed 
as very few would be willing to admit, and indeed I think 
no man can rationally admit. I might give a multitude 
of poiiible examples; but, for the greater fatisfaction of 
the reader, fliall only mention a few that are real. 

(1) Witliin the Cnri!iian church, there are not only 
different, but oppofiie opinions, and mutually deflructive 
of eacii oiher. Thofe who hold them, on each lide, not 
only fay, but think, that their adverfaries are guilty of 
impiety and blafphemy, Let us take for inftance, the 
Calvinills and Socinians. R^ad the writings of the firll,- 
aiul you will fee, that they confider their adverfaries as 
taking av/ay the very foundrilion of the gofpcl, denying 
tf.e only Lord God iliat bought then^i, ar.d as guilty of 
grofs idolatry in giving diviiie worlhip to one whom they 
believe to be a creature. A,^ain, if you read the writings 
of the lall, you will find them charging tiieir adverfliiies 
with blafphemy of tlie mofl horrible natiu-e, and not only 
making a god diiferent from the true Go>l, but fiif h a one 
as is more cruel and vindiilive than the very devils. — ' 
Now, I delire to know how the one of thefe ions 01 per^ 
fons can have a laA'orable opinion of the fiate and fenti- 



Scnptiire mea7iing of Charity. 3^7 

ments of the oppofite, without renouncing their own ? I 
do freely acknowledge, as I have formerly done, that I 
never did elteem the Socinians to bs Chridians; and yet 
find nothing more eafy, or indeed more necefiary, than to 
have charity for them ^ in what I take to be the fcripture 
fenfe of that word. But in the modern fenfe it appears 
to me utterly impoffible. For the very fame realon, if 
any who had embraced thefe principles fiiould pretend, 
that he had fuch charity for me, as to elleem and receive 
me as a faithful minider of Chrifi:, I would confider it as 
a profeflion altogether hypocritical, or that he did not be- 
lieve a word of his own. fyllem. The truth is, I cannot 
help thinking, fi'om the manner of conducing theological 
controverfies, that it is very common for many to plead 
for that charity to themfelves which they never give to 
their adverfaries; while the power of prejudice hinders 
them from obferving the inconfiRency between their rea- 
foning and praftice.^ 

(2) Thofe who deny and oppofe the gofpel altogether, 
have juft the fame title to our charitv, and we are obliged 
to believe, that they are honefl and impartial inquirers, 
and therefore accepted of God. Nov/, if there be any 
thing in the world clear from fcripture, it is, that we ara 
not to approve or receive fuch perlons; that they are not 
the objedls of forbearance ; and, by confequence, not of 
that charity that confdls in forbearance : on the contrary, 
the zeal and adlivity of the apoftles was wholly employed 
inbrio'^ing unbelievers to the knowledge and confeilion 
of the truth ; for which they deferve very little prafie, if 
their {late v/as fafe, and their character unexceptionable, 
before. And as to perfon among us denying the gofpel, 

a I could give many inHances of this furprifmg inadvertency 
in writers of the very firfl; chara6\er : I fliall only mention one, 
of the renovt^ned earl of Sl.aftefbury. His darling theme is, to 
ihow, that every thing v/hatever is for the general good ; that 
even the v> orfb men are guided at bottom by a benevolent prin- 
ciple; yet even v.hile expatiating on the goodnefs of the whole 
lyilcm of beings, he takes every opportunity of falling upon the 
clergy, whom he allows to be purely evil, without containing 
any good, or tendency to promote it : A defe6l in his own 
fchcme, to v.hich he doth not feem to have attended. 

V' OL. IT. 3 B 



37^ -^fi Inquiry Into the 

after examination, I do not fee how any perfon can think 
them impartial in rejecting it, without a very poor opinion 
otthe evidence tor receivinnj it. 

(3) Even in point of morals, there have been, and are 
at this time, opinions fo very grofs, that few will look 
upon the Hate of thofe who hold them as fafe ; and yet if 
forbearance is charity, and the charity is unlimited, they 
niufl alfo be taken in. There have been feveral, who 
certainly were fmcerely of opinion, that fornication and 
other uncleannefs, was lawful. So great a man as 
David Hume, efq. has adopted a fentence from a French 
writer: " Female infidelity, when it is known, is a fmall 
*' matter ; and when it is not known, it is nothing." — 
The very lame writer feems alfo either to defend, or great- 
ly to alleviate, unnatural luft. And many highwaymen 
have actually reafoned themfelves into an opinion of the 
lawtulnefs of robbery, by alledging, that God never made 
the world with this view, that fome fliould have too much 
and others fliould llarve ; and therefore they had a right 
to a fhare, and might levy it wherever they could find it. 
The truth is, there are more of theie grofs and erroneous 
opinions than many are aware of; for men are feldom at 
eafe on the commiffion of fin, till they have found foine 
way to fatisfy their own minds, by wrong principles. — 
Well, are we to think all thefe honed and impartial in- 
quirers, and to have charity for then) in the kwk fo often 
mentioned .' I imagine fome will at lafi: Hop fliort, and 
iay, there is a difiindtion to be made; thefe opinions are 
formed by the influence of prejudice, and the bias of cor- 
rupt afFedtioiis. Here then your charity fails, and you 
have fet limits to your forbearance; or rather you have 
given up the Caufe; lor all falfe opinions arife from the 
the bias of corrupt afFcaions. The fallacy of the whole 
arguments on this fubjeft lies in confounding two things 
very dififerent, viz. a man's being truly of an opinion, 
and his being fo upon fair and unprejudiced inquiry. A 
train of reafonin;^^ carried on, which is built upon the 
lail of thefe fuppofitions, and applied to cafes where only 
the firfi- takes place. Perhaps fome may chufe to fay, 
2s to the cafe of iuimora! opinions, that men are not to 



Scripture meaning of Charity. 379 

be dlfapproved or condemned for the opinion in itfelf, 
but for prefuining to zSl in confeqiience of it. To which 
I anfwer, That if any man will prove the innocence of 
forming fuch opinions, I will undertake to prove, with 
at lead equal evidence, the obligation that lies upon every 
one fo perfuaded, to a6l according to his light. 

5. In the lad place, To fuppofe that charity is the fame 
thing with forbearance, and yet that it is unlimited, is 
felf-contradii^bory, and impoffible, in many inflances, to 
be put in pra6lice. True ChriiUan charity being the in- 
difpenfable duty of all, mufl at leafl: be pofTible to all, and 
confident with every other duty. Now, to believe the 
fafety of the Hate, or the goodnefs of the charadler of ma- 
ny perfons for whom charity is pleaded, may be to fome 
abfolutely impoflible. They may have a convidlion of the 
contrary in their judgment. They may think, that the 
fcripture clearly and explicitly commands them to feparate 
from fuch people, to oppofe and deted their errors ; and 
furely there are many much more abfurd and groundlefs 
opinions truly entertained. What then ihall they do ? 
The fcripture commands them to contend with erroneous 
perfons; and if they do, they are guilty of a breach of cha- 
rity, one of the mod elfential of all gofpel duties ; for the 
apodle tells us, " Though I fpeak with the tongue of men 
*' and angels, and have not charity, I am become as found- 
*' ing brals, or a tinkling cymbal." 

Thus, I hope it has been proved, to the fatisfa6lIon of 
all impartial perfons, that if charity, in fcripture, ic tiie 
lame thing with that forbearance we owe to others who 
differ from us, it mud have fome bounds, and be praife 
or blame-worthy, according to the cafes in which it is ex- 
ercifed. If it be aiked, V/ho fliall date the bounds be- 
yond which it is not to extend ? I anfwer, Every one for 
hiinfelf, according to the bed of his own judgment. 
Some perhaps will contend with, or judge others, for 
things in Vv^hich they ought to forbear them ; but many 
others will carry their forbearance too far, and retain er^ 
roneous or vicious perfons in their fociety, when they 
ought to expel them. For this there is no remedy, as it is 
the cQufequence of the weaknefs of human nature, and na 



380 An Inquiry into the 

way dlficrent from what happens as to every duty incum- 
bent oa us as men or Chriltians. 

11. Let us now come to the fecond part of this difcourfe, 
and confider what reafon there is to to believe, that charity 
in fcripture, is a dut;' akop;ether dillincl: from forbearance, 
and founded on diflinft principles. 

One general confideration \vill n;o nigh to prove this of 
itfelf, viz. That forbearance, as has been fliewn in the 
preceding pages, hath limits, beyond which it is culpable; 
whereas charity hath none, at lealt as to its u^jedl:. ^i'here 
is no perlon or chara6ler that can be conceived, for which 
v.e are allowed to be without cl.arity. With refpeft to 
forbearance, the objeft of it is clearly pointed out in the 
paflagcs where it is fpoken of, and is the difference of 
opinion as to fmaller matters, viz. the lawfulnefs or un- 
law fulnefs of meats and drinks, and v/hether certain days 
were holy or common. But there is no paffage in which 
charity is fpoken of, that gives the leall hint, or indeed 
that leaves room to funpofe that it hath any limits as to 
its objeft. Charity, we are told, is " the end," or fum, 
*' of the commandment." And indeed it is the fame 
thing with love, which is \\\t fulfilling of the law. And 
in the explication which our Lord gives of the fum of the 
fecond table of the law, in anfwer to that quedion, Who 
is my neighbor ? he plairdy teaches us by the parable of 
the Samaritan, that all men are our neighbors. There 
was a great cppofition, in point of religion, between the 
Jews and Samaritans ; yet he fh.ews plainly, that this 
ought not to obliruct the exercile of charity, in the true 
fenfe of that word. For this reafon, 1 think it highly pro- 
bable, that forbearance is different from charity ; the one 
points out our dutv to cur fellow Chriltians in certain cir- 
cumllances, and the other includes our duty to our fellow- 
creatures at all times. 

This will be coniirmed, by reflecting that the word which, 
in fome places, is tranflated charity^ is the fame, in all other 
pallages without variation in any one of them, with that 
is tranflated lo^ce. a^ape is the New Tcftament word 
for charity^ which, as it is generally tranflated lo-'^e^ fo I do 



Scripture meaning of Charity. 38 1 

not fee the leafl: reafon for altering the tranflation, in thofe 
places where charity is fubftituted in its room. Charity 
then is lo'ue ; that is to fay, it is a fincere and fervent af- 
fe6tion to others, and a defire of their welfare, temporal 
and eternal. This not only may confifl with, bat of itfelf 
naturally produces, the llrongell abhorrence of their wick- 
ed principles, and the deepeft concern for their dangerous 
(late. There is a great affinity between the fentiments we 
ought to entertain with regard to error and vice. Our 
love to vicious perfons ought not to carry in it any appro- 
bation or indulgence of their vices, and far lefs any belief 
of the fafety of their flate ; but an earned concern to bring 
about their reformation. In the fame manner, a fincere 
and fervent charity for erroneous perfons, does not imply 
eny approbation of their opinions, or fuppofition of their 
jconfiftency with foundnefs in the faith, but an earnefl: de- 
fire 10 recover them, if poffible, from their unhappy delu- 
fion. Nay, though a man be fo narrow-minded, as to 
judge thofe whom he ought to forbear, it may, very pofTi- 
bly, be attended with no breach of charity ; becaufe there 
may be as much love to his neighbor in that perfon's 
heart, and as much concern for his welfare, as if he had 
feen more clearly his own mi (lake. The apoflle Paul 
calls thefe iveak perfons, and afcribes their conduct to the 
im perfections of their judgment. It was the firong, or 
thofe who had more knowledge, that he blamed, as not 
walking charitably, when they would not abflain from 
meat, to prevent their brethren's offence. 

It will be an additional confirmation of this meaning of 
charity, that it makes the feveral duties of Chriflians at 
once clear and intelligible, and confident one with ano- 
ther, by leaving to each its full fcope, and its proper ob- 
]tt\. If w-Q take charity in the fenfe which I have reject- 
ed, there will be a continual dppofition between zeal and 
charity; and in proportion as you increafe in anyone of 
them, you mull: necelTarily fail in the other. And indeed 
this feems to be verified in experience; for thofe who ef- 
poufe this fort of charity, do frequently fall into fo cool ^ 
Hate in point of zeal, that they give themfelves little trou- 
ble, either in inflruCting the ignorant, or reproving the 



3^2 An Inquiry into the 

vicious ; and are not backward in ftigmatizlng thofe, as 
narrow-minded and uncharitable, who do. But if we 
take charity lor unfeigned love, then, inllead of oppofiti- 
on, there is the moil; perfe6t harmony between one duty 
and another. So far from hniderinj^:, or even limitinor 
each other in their exercife, they llrengthen each other in 
principle, and diretl each other in their application. — 
The more fervent love I have for my fellow-creatures 
and my fellow- chrillians, it will but excite my zeal to 
promote their benefit, by endeavoring to convince them 
of any dangerous millake, and deliver them from the do- 
minion of every vicious pra6lice. At the fame time, this 
love will naturally produce forbearance, where it is law- 
ful and proper ; becaufe, if I love any perfon fuicerely, 
I will judge of him candid]}/, and not impute any bad 
fentiment or practice to him without neceffity. It will 
prevent us from interfering with others udiere we ought 
not, and will urge us to adivity and diligence where the 
cafe feems really to call for it. 

This fubjedl nsay be well illuRrated by parental affec- 
tion, when it is both flrong in its principle, and v.'ell di- 
rected in its exercife. It will certainly prevent a parent 
from judging hardly of his children, or being eafily in- 
cenfed a^ainll them, on wrono; or doubtful information : 
but it v/ill be fo far from making him think favorably of 
their midakes, either in principle or practice, that the 
more tender his love, the greater his concern to prevent 
their being mifled, or to recover them if they have gone 
aliray. Examples to be fure there are n\any, of a fort of 
love in parents to their children, that operates like the 
falfe charity I am now pleading againft, making them 
blind to their failings, and even partial to their crimes: 
but I think it mult be allowed, that all fuch partiality and 
indulgence is a weaknefs, inllead of a virtue, in the pa- 
rent, and is conmionly a curfe, inRead of a blefling, to 
the child. To have ju(t apprehenfions of the feveral du- 
ties of the Chriitian life, we mufi; always confider their 
relation to, and dependance upon one another. There 
are fome fins oppoiiie to, and deflru6\ive of each other; 
but there is no truly good difpolition, that is not perfedlly 



Scripture meaning of Charity. 383 

confident with, or rather that does not improve and 
ftrengthen every other. It is remarkable, that in fcrip- 
ture, the duties of reproof and corre6lion are frequently- 
attributed to love as their principle, not only in God, but 
in man : " Whom the Lord loveth he chaftifeth, and 
" fcourgeth every fon whom he receiveth." — " He that 
" fpareth the rod, hateth his fon ; but he that loveth him, 
" challeneth him betimes." — " Thou flialt not hate thy 
" neighbor in thy heart ; but ilialt in any wife rebuke him, 
*' and not fuflfer fin upon him." 

Upon the whole, fince this interpretation of charity is 
not only moft agreeable to fcripture, but mod confiilent 
with itfelf, and with every other branch of the Chriflian 
character, I hope it will be received, at leafl fo far as to 
leflen the cry of uncharitablenefs againfl thofe who, from 
the united principles of love to God and man, think them- 
felves obliged to oppofe the progrefs of grofs error. I 
plead for this only when they make ufe of jull and lawful 
means, and a6l in a manner becoming Ghriilians, in 
meeknefs inftrucling thofe that oppofe themfelves. For 
though I have flievvn, that true charity is as favorable to 
zeal as to forbearance, and to both alike in their proper 
place, I am fenfible that there may be zeal where there 
is little or no charity; and, in that cafe, it will fhew itfelf 
in ** wrath, flrife, feditions, herefies.'' This happens 
chiefly, when a weak perfon who judges ralhly, is alfo of 
an envious or malicious difpofition. The firlt of thefe may 
be fometimes without the other; they may, however, alfo 
be joined in the fame perfon ; and then it v/ill certainly 
be attended with "confufion, and every evil work." But 
when a deep fenfe of the evil of departing from the faith 
to the perfons themfelves, and the danger of corrupt doc- 
trine infetling the whole lump, induces any to (land up 
in defence of the truth, to oppofe the introduction of er- 
roneous teachers, or to attempt the expulfion of thofe who 
have crept in unau^ares; let them be called unreafonable 
if you pleafe, and let their miflake be pointed out, but 
I beg that they may not be abufed and vilified as uncha- 
ritable. The reafon of my requeil is, that it is more than 
probable they (}q this from a (Irong convldion, that they 



J 84 -^ii Inquhy, bPc. 

arc obliged to it by the exprefs command of Chrift. I de- 
clare this to be my own perfuafion, after the mofl impar- 
tial fearch of the fcriptures of which I was capable ; and 
certainly it is at lead poffible, that we may have, notwith- 
flanding, a fervent love to our brethren, and a defire o^ 
their welfare. We may love them as men, even when 
we cannot judge them to be faints; and w^e may love 
them as Chridians, even Vv^hen we think they are in many 
things to be blamed ; nay, I hope we may heartily forgive 
them as enemies, notwithftanding all their bitternefs and 
rancor againft us. But if, after all, this requefl: cannot be 
obtained; if we cannot alter our judgment, and tiiey will 
ftill infill that we are therefore without charity, that is to 
fay, without chridianity ; they mufl confefs, that here is 
one opinion v/hich they will not tolerate, and to which, 
in their own fenfe, no charity is due. 



[ 385 ] 



TiiE TRIAL OF RELIGIOUS TRUTH by its MORAL 
INFLUENCE. 



SERMON 38. 



Preached at the opcnin?^ of the Syno4 of Glafgow and Air^ 
Odober 9th, 1759. 



Matthew vii. 20. 

)Vherefore, by their fruits ye shall knoxv thetn* 

VERY one who hath any acquaintance with the 
writings of Infidels, muR know that there is no to- 
pic on which they infid: at greater length, or with more 
plaufibihty, than the innumerable feds and parties into 
which the Chriflian world is divided. "VVith what appa- 
rent triumph do they enlarge, on the contradidlory tenets, 
which diflerent perfons profefs to found upon the fame 
fcriptures, their violent oppofition one to another, and the 
great difiiculty, or rather impollibility of difcovering truth, 
among fo many, who pretend each to have the entire and 
exclufive poiTclTjon of it. 

Having gone thus far, it is eafy and natural to proceed 
one ilep farther, and affirm, that the great plurality of 
every denomination, do not en^brace religion in general, 
or the tenets of their own feci in particular, from rational 
or perlbnal conviction, but from a blind imitation of 
ethers, or an attachment to one or a few diiVinguifhed 

VPL. 11. :; C 



386 The Trial of Rdigiotis Trinb 

leaders, whofe authority is flronger than all other evi- 
dence whatever. Thus is religion, at once, iuppoied true, 
and yet deftroyed ; that is to fay, it is at one ilroke, as it 
"were, annihilated, in alrnoft all who profers it, their opi- 
nions, whatever they are in ihemfelves, being no more 
than implicit faith and party prejudice in thofe who em- 
brace them. 

The fame vifible flate of the world, which gives occa- 
fion of triumph to the enemies of religion, gives often, no 
imall uneafmefs and anxiety to its friends, particularly to 
the beft and moll difpaffionate of every party. Serious 
and confcientious perfons, when they reflect upon the di- 
vifions that prevail, when they are witneifes to the conten- 
tion and mutual aceufation of different parties, are ready 
(6 be overwhelmed with melancholy upon the profpect, as 
well as involved in doubt and perplexity, as to what 
courfe they themfelves fliould hold. It is not uncommon- 
to find perfons of every rank, in this fituation, not only 
thofe of better education, who are able to take an exten- 
five view of the (late of things, in this and in preceding 
^Jiires ; but alfo thofe of lefs knowledge and comprehenfi- 
on, when any violent debates happen to fall within the 
j'phere of their own obfervation. 

Thefe reafons have induced me to make choice of the 
pafiage new read as the fub]e(!t of difcourle at this time. It 
contains the rule to which our Saviour appeal? in his eon- 
troverfy with the Pharifees, and by which he, once and 
again, defires that their pretenfions may be judged. I 
apprehend from the context, that it is equally ap>plicab1e 
to their charaQers and their principles, their integrity be- 
fore God in their offices of teachers of others, and the 
JTOundnefs of their doQrine as to its effects upon thofe who 
fliould receive it. Thefe two things aie, indeed, in a 
}?;reat meafure connefted together, or rather they are nni- 
tually involved in or.'e another, though it is iioflible, and, 
in fome few cafes, profitable, to make a dillindion be- 
tween them. 

What is further propofcd, through the afiiOance of di- 
Tirine gra^-^, in the profecution of this Ailjr61. \% 



hy ks Moral Influence. 389' 

T. To fiiow, that the rule here given hy our Saviour 13 
the bed that could have been given, and that it is fuffici- 
ent to diftinguifli truth from error. 

II. That this is in fad the rule by which all good men, 
and, indeed, mankind in general, fo far as they are fincere, 
do judge, of religious principles and pretenfions. 

III. To conclude with fome reflections on the fubjedt 
for the benefit both of minillers and people. 

In the firO: place then it is propofed to fhow, That the 
rule here given by our Saviour is the bed that could have 
been given, and that it is fufficient to diftinguifli truth 
from error. To lay a foundation for this, it v./iil be ne- 
ceflfary to begin by fettling, in as precife a manner as pof- 
fible, the meaning of the rule, and to what cafes it can be 
juftly applied. " Ye fliall know them by their fruits," 
faith our Saviour.- — That is to fay, when any perfon af- 
fumesthe charaQ;er of a divine teacher, and propofes any 
thing to your belief, as from God, fee whether its fruits 
be really fuitabk to its pretenfions : particularly you are 
to lay down this as a principle, that, as he is holy in hia 
nature, every thing that proceeds from him mufi: be holy 
in its tendency, and produce holinefs as its fruit. la 
proportion as you fee this effeft in hiai who teaches it, 
and thofe who embrace it, fo receive it as true, or reject 
it as flilfe. 

By laying down the rule in thefe terms, I do not mean 
to deny, that, \yhen a revelation is firft propofed as from 
God, or when the credit of fuch revelation in general is 
examined, miracles are a diftinftand conclufive proof of a 
divine commiflion. I am perfuaded that nothing is more 
vague and indeterminate, and at the fame time, a more 
manifeft inverting the natural order of things, than to fay 
with fome, We muft judge of the truth of a miracle by the 
nature of the dodlrine in fupport of which it is wrought; 
and, if this lall is worthy of God, we may then admit ths 
honorary teftimony of the mighty work in its behalf. — 
They do not attend to the great ignorance of man in all 
fpiijtual and divine things without revelation^ and to the 



:> 



88 T/jc Trial of RcUgious Tnith 



boklnefs of human pride, who fpeak in this manner. I 
would rather include this as one ol the proper fruits of a 
divine commiffion to teach an}- new dodrine, that fiiL^ns 
be given of a fuperior ])o\vcr accompanying the projihet. 
Thus we fee the Jews made this denuind of our Saviour, 
" What lign flievved thou then, that we may fee and be- 
" lieve thee ? What dofl: thou vvork?"^ It is true, in 
fome inflances, when, after many miracles, they pcrfillcd 
in afl^inq; new figns of their own deviling, he condtunis 
their obRinacy and refufes to gratify it. Notv/ithftandiiig 
this, we find him often appealing to his works as an at- 
teltation of the truth of his mifiion ; thus he favs, " Be- 
" lieve me tliat I am in the Fdther and the Father in me, 
*• or elfe believe me for the very work's fake."^ And 
elfewhere, " If I had not done among them the works that 
" none other man did, they had not had fm : but now 
*' they have both feen, and hated both me and my Fa- 
" ther.'V Agreeably to this, we und Nicodemus draw- 
ing the conclufion, '' Rabbi, we know thou art a L*jacher 
" come from God, for no man can do the miracles that 
" thou dofl, except God be with him.'V/ 

There is no doubt, however, that this muft be infcpar 
rably joined with a purity of character, and fandity of 
purpofe, AVhen thefe are wanting, it gives the JLilted 
ground of fi^fpicion, leads to the {iri61.elt examination of 
niiraculous pretenfions, and wil! certainly end inthedif- 
covery of fuch as are falfe. For this is the very excel- 
lence of the rule laid down by our Saviour, that, though 
reafon may be very unfit to pafs an independent judg- 
ment upon truth and error, confcicnce may, with little 
danger of millake, rejeft what is evil, and yield its ap- 
probation to what is good. 

But what I hare chiefly in viev/ is, that fupj)onng the 
truth of tiie gofpel in general, particular opinions and 
practices mull be tried in this manner. As the gofpel i^ 
jillowed on all hands to be a dotlrine according to godli- 
nefs, v;hen differences arifc, and each opposite lide pre- 

« Juiii) vi. so. b John xiv. 11. c John xv. 2 1. 
d Jolin iii. 2. 



hy lis Moral Infiacnc^e. 389 

tends to have tlie letter of the law in its favor, the great 
rule of deciflon is, which doth mofl immediately and mod 
certainly, promote piety and holinefs in all manner of 
converi'ation. In this way every dodlrinal opinion, every 
form of government, and every rite and pradlice in wor- 
fliip, may be brought to the tell, and tried by its fruits. 

As opinions, ^o characters, mull be tried in the fame 
manner. The truth of this, though deferving particular 
meniion, is included in, or is but a part and branch of the 
other. To pafs a judgment on particular charaders is of 
very fmall moment, or rather, a peremptory decifjon of 
this kind is both unnecellary and improper, unlefs when 
it is of v/eight in a caule. It is only prophets and teach- 
ers that fall to be fingly, or perfonally tried, becaufe they 
are fuppofed lo exhibit, in their own practice, an exam- 
ple of the force and influence of their principles. If on 
them they have no efledt that is good, tliere is not the leall 
pretence for infifting that others fhould embrace them. 

Nothing farther feems neceffary by way of explication 
of this rule, fave to obferve from the context, that fair and 
plaufible pretences, either of opinions or characters, rauit 
be exam.ined with particular care, as being mofl: ready to 
deceive ; and the trial mull be more by facts than by rea- 
ioning, as is implied in the very language ufed in the text, 
"By their fruits ve Ihall knov/ them." 

The excellency of this rule may be comprehended un- 
der the two following particulars, ill, Its certaint)^ 2dly, 
Its jierfpicuity. 

The firlt of thefe will admit of little difpute. As God 
is infinitely holy in his own nature, every difcovery that 
lie has made to any of his creatures, muil carry this im- 
preffion upon it, and have a tendency to promote holinefs 
in them. And, as this is manifeftly the defign of tlie fa- 
cred oracles, and that fyllem of divine truth which they 
contain, every thing by way of opinion, or practice, that 
pretends to derive its authority from them, may lawfully 
be tried by this rule, "Will it make us more holy than be- 
fore ? 

It is of moment here to obferve, that this rule hath a 
deep and folid foundation. It proceeds upon the fuppofi- 



39^ ^'^-^(^ Trial of Religious Truth 

tion, that all natural are inferior to moral qualities; that 
even the noblefl: intelleflual abilities are only fo far valua- 
ble, as they are fubfervient to moral perfed^ion ; or in 
other words, that truth is in order to goo<:lnefs. It is not 
(as has been often faid) in his Almighty ]io\ver, his infi- 
nite wifdom, or the immenfity of his being, that the glory 
of God chiefly confifls, but in his immaculate holinefsand 
ipotlefs purity. Each part of the divine charader, in- 
deed, derives a luftre from the other. It is the union of 
greatnefs and goodnefs, that makes liim truly God. His 
moral excellence becomes infinite in value and efficacy 
by refiding in an infinite ohjert. But if it v/ere poflible 
to feparate his natural perfection from his moral excel- 
lence, or could we fappofe them joined to malignity of 
difpofition, he would be the proper object (let us fpeak 
it witli re^'erence) not of fuprenie love, but of infinite dc- 
tcRation. 

7^his is more than fufficient to fupport the order in 
which things are reprefented aliove, and fliow, th.at its 
moral influence is the proper touchftone and trial of reli- 
gious truth. Thefedoclrines only come from God, which 
tend to form us after the divine image. Thus far, per- 
haps, all will allow it to be true; at leafl the aiTertion is 
common. But be pleafed to obferve, that this neccffarily 
fuppofes the fure and infallible efficacy of real truth in 
promoting holinefs, and the infufficiency of error and 
talfliood ibr this purpofe. If thefe were not both alike 
certain, the rule would be equivocal and abfurd. If men 
by believing lies could attain to unfeigned goodnels and 
true holinefs, then their moral efie^St could not in the 
lead ferve to diftinguifli between truth and error. It is 
no lefs plain d)at if fo abfurd a fuppofition is admitted but 
for a moment, the value ;jf truth is wholly deftroyed, and 
no wife man will employ his time and pains in endavor- 
ing to difcover, to coiinnunicate, or to defend it. 

The other particular comprehended under the excel- 
lence of this rule, is its perfpicuity ; That, it is not only 
fure and infallible in itfelf, but capable of an eafy applica- 
tion by thofe who have occafion to ufe it. Here, if any 
where, there is room iov doubt and difputaticn. Here, it 



by Us Maral Injfiiefice, 59 1 

tnay be alledged, all the confufion and uncertainty returns, 
which was before complained of, and for which a remedy 
was required. Men will fi;ilJ difTer in their opinions as t(7 
what is true goodnefs. Befides, they will flill debate the 
fincerity of many pretenfions, and the reality of many 
appearances ; and, as art and hypocrify will always be' 
ufcd on the one hand, delufion muft be the unavoidabb 
confequence on the other. 

This, however, is no more than the neceflary confe- 
quence of human imperfection. It cannot be denied, and 
it may, withtjut any hefitation, be confefled, that men are 
liable to err, and that many have erred in the application 
of this rule. But, who can from thence juftly infer, that 
it is not of lufFicient clearnefs, to direct thofe who will 
honeflly make ufe of it, and to lay the error of thofe who 
are mifled entirely at their own door ? 

It pleafed God to write his law upon the heart of man 
at firih And the great liner, of duty, however obfcured 
hy our original apoilaey, are flill fo vifible, as to aflbrd an 
opportunity of judging, what conduft and pracliee is, or 
is not agreeable to its di6latcs. It will be found from ex- 
perience, that men are able to determine on this point, 
with far greater certainty, than on any other fubje6l of 
religion : that is to fay, they can perceive the excellency 
of the end, when they are in much doubt about the means, 
in themfelves, or feparately confidered. 

Such authority hath natural confcienee AIll in man, 
that it renders thofe who, in their own conduct, defpife 
iis reproofs, inexcufeable in the fight of God.i^ But it is 
of importance in the prefent argument to obferve, thac 
every one is able to pais a far lurer judgment on the mo- 
ral character of another, than his own. The pollution 
of the heart brings a corrupt bi?.s on the judgment, in a 
nian'a own cafe, and makes him palliate and defend thofe 
fms, to which he is flrongly inclined, or of which he hath 
been already guilty : whereas in determining the charac- 
ters of others, this bias is lefs fenHbly felt. This is per- 
haps the true and only reafon wiiy any deference is paiti 

« Pvoni. i. 20.— -ii. 14, 



392 The Trial of Religious Truth 

to virtue as praife-worthy, by thofe who are enemies to ?t 
in their hearts, or any public honor and refpe£l given to 
the fervice of God in the world, where fo great a majority 
are evidently in the interells of anotht-r malkr. 

One fingular excellence of this rule is, its being the 
moll univerfally intelligible. It is level to the capacity 
of men of all degrees of underftanding. There is little 
difference, if any, in this refpe^l, between the Vv'ife and 
the unvvife, the learned and the ignorant. Perhaps this 
circunillance alone ought to give it, in juflice, the ])re(e- 
rencc, to every other tefl: of religious truth. Religion is 
the concern of all alike, and therefore, what relates to it 
Ihould be open to all. It was the character, and the glo- 
ry of the gofpel, at its firil publication, that it was preach- 
ed to the poor. And by this it is ftill diftinguifhed, not' 
only from many or mofl falfe religions, but efpecially 
from thofe philofophical fpeculation's, in which the ene- 
mies of all religion place their chief ib-ength. When we 
perufe a fyltem or theory of moral virtue, the principles 
of which are very reiined, or the reafoning upon it ab- 
llra6ted and above the comprehenfion of the vulgar, it 
may be ingenious, but it carries in itfelf a demonfiration^ 
that, becaufe it is unlit, it could never be intended for 
general ufe. 

Here tiien, lies the great advantage of the rule laid 
down by our Saviour. The bulk of mankind, thofe of 
lower rank, and even thofe among them of w^eakell or 
leafl cultivated undcrltanding, are able to judge of the ef- 
fects of principles, or to fee the beauty of an excellent 
chara<^ter, when they are not able to examine a doctrine, 
or apprehend the reafoning upon which it is founded. — 
The didates of confcience are often immediate and clear," 
when the dedu6lions of reafon are long and involved. To 
make intricate refearches in theory, requires great natu- 
ral abilities, which are the portion of very it^^ \ but to 
judge of a vifible characler requires only an impartial 
fen fe of right and wrong. Of this the plain man is aS 
fu!"ceptib!e as the moll acute by nature, or the moft en- 
lightened by education. In God Almighty, infinite know- 
ledge and inunite holinefs are united, and, we have rea- 



by its Moral Influente. 393 

fnn to think, that in their perfeftion they are infeparaWe. 
But we know, by experience, that they do not bear an 
exaft proportion to one another in inferior natures, at lead, 
among finful creatures. There may be, and there often 
is great virtue and goodnefs in a mean capacity, and 
great depravity in perfons of eminent ability. 

From thefe confiderations it is plain, that this rule of 
trying a do6lrine by its efFe6ls, as a tree by its fruits, may 
be applied by the meaneft as well as the greateft, and 
with as little danger of millake. Perhaps it might have 
been fafely affirmed with lefs danger of miilake. Great 
intelleflual abilities, and great natural advantages of eve- 
ry kind, are very ready to fvvell the mind with pride and 
feif-conceit, than v/hich no difpofition is in itfelf more 
odious in the fight of God, or more unfavorable to the dif- 
covery of truth. This feems to be confirmed by experi- 
ence, and it is plainly the view given us of our prefent 
Hate in the holy Scriptures. Thus the apoflle Paul fays, 
" Ye fee your calling, brethren, how th.U not many wife 
" men after the flelh, not many mighty, not many noble 
" are called. But God hath chofen the foolifh things of 
*• the world, to confound the wife ; and God hath chofen 
" the weak things of the world to confound the things 
" which are mighty, and bafe things of the worldj and 
" things which are defpifed hath God chofen, yea, and 
" things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 
*' that no flefh fliould glory in his prefence."t']; For the 
very llime thing we find our bleffed Redeemer adoring the 
deptli and fovereignty of divine Providence, in the follow- 
ing terms, '^ In that hour Jefus rejoiced in fpirit, and 
" laid, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
*' that thou had hid thefe things from the wife and pru-' 
" dent, and haft revealed them unto babes : even fo, Fa- 
" ther, for fo it feemed good in thy fight. "^ 

Miftakes, however, after all there will be, and fome 

differences even among the bed ; but, from this very cir- 

cumdance, I derive another great excellence of the above 

rule laid down, that, it is not only the ted of truth for a 

a 1 Cor. i. 2 6,-39. b Luke x. 21. 

y^l.. II. 3D 



;^r)4 TXv Trial of Religious Truth 

mail's ftlf, but the meafure of forbearance v ich regard to 
others. By carefully examuiing their fruits, men may 
not only bs diredlecl what to embrace, and what capital 
and fundamental errors wholly to rejeft, but alio in whnl: 
particulars to e\ercife mutual forbearance, and, though 
Imaller difTerences Hill fubfifl, to receive one another to 
the glory of G-od. If in any perfon or perfons, of what- 
ever party, you perceive the fpirit of true and undefiled- 
religion, they are accepted of God, and lliould not be 
condemned by you. This ought not, in judice, to in- 
duce you to approve or embrace every one of their prin- 
ciples, or every part of their pradice, of which perhaps' 
)0U have ittw or felt die bad tendency ; yet Ihould it en- 
gage you to love them with unfeigned afieftion as fmcere, 
though, in fome meafure, miflaken iervants of our com- 
mon Lord. 

I hope it appears from the preceding cbfervations, that 
this' rule, of trying every principle or profeifion by its 
fruits, is the bell that could have been given. It is cer- 
tain and infallible in itfelf, and v/e are lefs liable to mil- 
take in the uf;; of it, than of any other. There I'eems, in- 
deed, to be an exa6t analogy between this rule in religious 
matters-, and reafon in- our common and civil concerns. 
Reafori is the bell guide and- director of humtm life. There 
is certainly an ellential clifFerence between wifdom and 
folly, inthe nature of things. They are alio fenfibly op- 
pofite to one another in their extremes. Innumerable 
actions, however, there are, or modes of a6lion, of a more 
doubtful and-difputable nature, as to the wifdom or weak- 
nefs of which, harldly any two men would be entirely of 
the fame opinion. Let the eneiv.y of religion make the 
application, who denies its reality, becaufe all good nien 
arc not of the fan^e mind; or becaufe there are different 
'parties anil profeflions, who oppofe one another in fome 
opinions and pracViccs. He ads ju!l the K.me part, as 
he, vyho feeing the differences of jutlgment among men, 
upon almotl every fubjeCl that falls under their delibera- 
tion, Jhonld renoiuice the \.\^^ of reafon, or ^ytwy that thers 
I'j innut'ire, uny Inch thing. 



by its Moral Influence. 395 

We now proceed to the fecond thing propofed, to Ihow, 
That the rule above explahied and defended, is that -by 
which, infaa, all ferious perfons, and indeed, mankind 
in general, fo far as they are fincere,, do judge of religious 
Wmciples and pretenfions. ., , . ^ .1 

By ferious perfons, I underftand all thofe who are truly 
religious, in oppofition to thofe who have only a nominal 
and cuftomary profefllon. If we would fpeak with preci- 
fion, or reafon in a juft and conclulive manner we mult 
keep this dlftinaion conftantly in vi&w. Nothing does 
more harm to any caufe, than a treacherous friend, or 
:bofom enemy : and nothing does more hurt to the interelt 
of religion, than its being loaded with a great number, 
who, for many obvious reafons, affume the form while 
they are Grangers to the power ot it. The fallacy ot 
almoft all the reafonings of infidels lies here. They con- 
-fider religion as anfwerable for all the hypocrify ot thole 
who profefs it, and all the wickednefs of thofe who have 
^lot renounced the profelilon ; as if in order to its being 
true it mull be impomble for any to counterfeit it. It 
th-^t were the cafe, no thanks would be due to impartml 
enquiry. All color of objeaion being taken away, the 
alfent would not be yielded, but compelled. This doubt- 
jefs tlie prefamptuous wifdom of man ordinarily dictates, 
■but'according to the fuperior wifdom of God "offences 
- mull come- and - herefies alfo, that they that are ap- 
" proved may be made manifed." 

Suppofing, therefore, the important.didinaion between 
,real and nominal Chriaians, all of the fird charatler Oi 
ev-ry a-e, and of every party, are fo far from being under 
the influence of implicit faith, that th^y try the truth by 
its fruits, and adhere to it for its effeas. There is fome- 
-thing more in the cafe of every good man, than barely a 
rational perfuafion of the truth of religion in general, trom 
the arpuments adduced -to fupport it. The truths ot the 
gofpefgive him fuch a view of liimfelf, and his own fiate, 
as experience Hxws him to be true. In the gofpel^ he 
finds a remedy propofed for his guilt and mifery which, 
.bef.des all the other evidences of its divine original, is ex- 
■2^y ly fuited to his fsU condition. Add to both thefe, tliAt 



39^ The Trial of Religious Truth 

he immediately experiences its happy efFeft, not only in 
laying the belt foundation for his peace, but in operating 
a thorough change in his heart and Hfe. Thus hath every 
real Chriftian, an inward and experimental proof of the 
truth of the gofpel, not contrary, but fuperior to, llronger 
and more ftable than any fpeculative reafoning. In this 
fenfe we are to underRand the words of the apoflle John, 
" He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witnefs in 
*'' himfelf."a This is common to all real believers of 
whatever denomination, who not only are perfectly agreed 
in the eflentials of religion, but much more agreed in 
every thing material, than they themfelves either clearly 
apprehend, or are willing to confcfs. 

So far every good man mud be acquitted from the 
charge of implicit faith; we may adopt concerning; all 
ilich the words of our Saviour to Peter, '' Blefl'ed art thou, 
*' Simon Barjona : For flefh and blood hath not revealed 
*' it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. "^ — 
It is no lefs plain, that in tvtry thing that is fuppofed to 
make a part of, or that hath any connexion with religion, 
they may judge by the fame rule. In all thele modes of 
opinion in leiTer matters, in all thefe circumftances which 
ferve to dillinguifli one fe61 from another, though they 
rnay determine in different, nay, in oppofite ways, yet 
they all proceed upon the fame general rule, viz. the in- 
fluence which fuch difputed point has, as a means, upon 
the fubftance and end of all religion. This appears from 
the reafoning on each fide, in all religious difputes. This 
principle as common to both is often exprefsly mentioned, 
and always manifeiily implied that thole doftrines, or 
that way of expreifing dodbines, and thofe pradlices, 
which are in fad moll conducive to holinefs, are, and 
for that very reafon mull be, mod agreeable to the will of 
God. 

But what I have chiefly in view is, to iliow, that this 
appears from the very fad ufually brought to prove that 
the religion of almoft all mankind is no better than impli- 
cit faith. The la6\ I mean is, that the bulk of mankind 
is greatly fvvayed in the choice of opinion, by the authority 
a 1 John V. 9. b Matt. xvi. 17. 



ly Its Moral Influence. 397 

and example of others. This, indeed, does not hold fo 
generally as is commonly fiippofed. We have feen above, 
that it doth not hold, with regard to the iubllance of reli- 
gion, in any good man ; for in this he will call no man 
mailer on earth. But even when it does hold, it is, per- 
haps, not fo blameable as many are apt to imagine. Let 
it be admitted then, that, in many inllances, it is the au- 
thority and example of men, more than any other reafon 
that determines the judgment. I^t it be admitted, that 
this is the cafe with the bulk of mankind, and even in 
fome meafure with the bed. I mufl be allowed to aflv, 
what is it that procures thefe perfons fuch authority ? 
What is it that fird begins, eftablifhes, or perpetuates 
their influence ? Nothing elfe, but the real or apparent 
fanility of their character. In vain will a profligate, or 
one manifellly dellitute of perfonal worth, fet himfelf at 
the head of a party, or attempt to drav/ away difciples af- 
ter him. It is the fuppofed piety and probity of the per- 
fon, that gives weight to his example, and force to his 
precepts. This weighs more with the fober ferious part 
of mankind, and, indeed, with mankind in general, than 
the greatefl: intellectual abilities, and otherwife moft ad- 
mired talents. Whoever has acquired a great reputation 
for piety and fmcerity, will, with little art, or rather no 
art at all, nay, without fo much as intending it, bring his 
principles and practice into repute. At the fame time, 
one of a contrary character, with all the powers of elo- 
quence, and every other outward advantage, Hiall fail in 
attempting to perfuade. 

Now what is this, but that mankind proceed mainly in 
their judgment, upon the very rule which I have endea- 
vored to fliow is the beft they could have chofen. They 
try principles by their effects, as a tree by its fruits. 
Wherever they fee the beft man, they conclude that he 
mufl: be aiiluated by the mofl excellent as well as the mofl: 
powerful principles. The multitude, or lower clafs of 
mankind, are ufu ally the fcorn of half-thinkers and fuper- 
ficial reafoners, for this attachment to perfons. But were 
acomjiarifon fiuthfully made between the feveral motives 
of choice in diflerent claffes, there would be no great caufe 



39'8 ^hc Trial of Religious Truth 

of triumph. When we confider how unfit the plurality of 
mankind are to judge in an intricate debate, darkened, 
perhaps, by the art and lublilty of thofe who handle it, 
we Ihall find they are Jittle, if at all, to blame. In one 
view, no doubt, they riiay be faid to be actuated by im- 
plicit faith, but in truth, and at bottom, they are follow- 
ing the wifefl and n>oft falutary.cf all moral maxims. 

A furvey of the hiflory, either of religion m general, or 
of the Chriftiim religion in particular, would fct this mat- 
ter in the cleareft light. But little of this kind can come 
v;ithin the limits of a fingle difcourfe. J fliall not there- 
fore fi:ay to mention the retirccl n)anner of life, and pre- 
tended fan6lity of the inventors of tlie lieathen idolatry, 
ihough it m.ay be applied to this fubje^ ; and would ferve 
to fliew the univerlal fenfc, and general expc£lation of 
mankind. 7'here is a faying of an eminent and violent 
>enemy of:thc Chrillian faith, *' That gravity is of the very 
" ellence of impoluire.''' Tliis is nothing elfe but a per- 
verted view, and malicious reprefentation .of t.'ie general 
truth, that apparent fanclity is necefTary to ellablifh any 
facred authority. But is there any thing more unquefli- 
onable, or that hath been more frequently oblerved, than 
*hat the viiStory of truth over error, in the firfl ages of 
Chriflianity, was much more owing to the fliining piety 
of the primitive Chriltians in general, together with the 
patience and ccnltancy of ih.e martyrs, than to any other 
means. Reafon may convince tlie underllanding, but 
.example feizcs and keeps poUellion of the heart. It was 
the eminent piety and ufefulnefs of the faints in former 
ages, which attrailed fiich veneration and love from the 
multitude, as loon proceeded to a criminal exccfs. Not 
content with imitating the an^.iable ex'^mple of tliol'e whom 
they held in fuch elleem, by a natural aH'ociation they 
aiiixed a fanclity to relics, and this produced a variety of 
fuperditious practices, I cannot alfo help being of opini- 
on, that it was ths fevere and mortified lives of many of 
the retired devotees in the Romilh church, that kept that 
corrupt body in credit for fcMi'j ages longer than it coulcj 
have otherwife continued. 



oy Its Moral Inf nonce. 39^ 

On the other hand, who does not know, that the mod 
formidable and luccelsful attacks made by the reformers* 
on that mother of abominations, were their ex pofmg the 
corrupt and dilTolute lives of her priefls and members. 
This they were at no fmall pains te do, both in a grave 
and in an ironical llrain. As-the covt-toufnefs and ambi- 
tion of many, and the lieentious debauchery of others of 
the clergy, firfl brought the do6lrines into fufpicion, fo 
thofe examples when held up to light, made a far greater 
number of converts, than any abfurdities in belief, how 
grofs and palpabie foever. The truth is, we fmd all par- 
ties greedily lay hold of this weapon whenever it is pre- 
fented to them, and ufe it with great confidence againll: 
their adverfaries j and in fo doing they difcover a convic- 
tion, that principles are never fo powerfully fupported ar,- 
hy the good, nor fo effedtaally difparaged as by ihe bad 
charafters of thofe who profefs them. 

If we leave the hiiloryof former ages, and examine the 
ilate of the prelent, the fame truth wiH Rill be the refult af 
our enc^uiry, and appear with increafing evidence. Dif- 
ferent parties and denominations prevail in different pla- 
ces ; and wherever any party or denomixiation greatly 
prevails, the efieci may eafily be traced up to- its caufe ; 
and will appear, by no very diilant tradition, to have been 
owing to the eminent piety of fo'nie one or more of that 
profefTion in a former period, or, which is much the fame, 
to the comparatively odious and vicious charatf^ers of thoits 
who op po fed them..^ 

a Our own counti y will afTovd us fome fenfible and (Iriking 
proofs of the juflicc of this obfervation. There had been a 
!lru<j;gle, from the very flrll dawn of the reformation, between 
prelbytery and epifcopacy m Scotland. This conteft however 
came to its greateft height about 100 ^ears ago, v/hen the pref- 
bytericuis were ejected, tiud epifcopacy Vv'as eftablilhed by a ty- 
rannical civil government, and continued by a fevere and cruel 
perfecuiion. We had by this means a trial of both ; and it is- 
very obftrTable, that the odium which juflly fell upon epifco- 
pacy, from the rage and inhumanity of thofe who had the chiwf 
dire6\ion, was the circuniflance that determined the body of 
the nation to eud\our iti, fubverhon. Yet, wlicrcver there hap- 
pened to be a lew i^iinitlers of that perfualion pious in their 
live::.; and dili?:cr.v iu thv,; duties of their o-fiice, there were ma- 



400 I'he Trial of Religious Truth 

It is no jufl obje^lion to the account here given, that' 
we find infiancesin which principles fee m to give a func- 
tion to charafters, indead of receiving fupport from them. 
There are, no doubt, cafes in which a man's being known 
to embrace certain principles, will be alone fufficient to 
make him odious, however blamelefs, or even praife-wor- 
thy his conduct be, in every other refpedl. At the fame 
time, perhaps, the failings of another fhall be either whol- 
ly pardoned, or greatly extenuated, if he efpoufe, but efpe- 
cially, if he is a£live in vindicating the principles which 
are held facred. But this is no more than the natural 
and necceflary confequence of any fet of principles being 
once firmly eftablifhed. They acquire their credit at firff^ 
in the way I have already mentioned ; but when that cre- 
dit is high, it will bring a fufpicion upon every thing that 
oppofes it, however Ipecious and promifing in outward 
ai)pearance. There is nothing furprifing here, nor, in- 
deed, any thing but what is perfe6lly natural ; for, as one 
or a few inftances commonly do not, fo in reafon they" 
ought not to fliake the reputation of truths, which have 
been ellabliflied by long experience of their worth and ef- 
ficacy. Neither mull it be forgotten, that when examples 
feemto (land in oppofition one to another, and to lead to 
different conclufions, it is not from one or two that a judg- 
ment can be paffed, but from many, and thefe compared 
and examined with great diligence and care. 

ny perfons and families Avho joined with them in communion^ 
and their pofterity adhere to that opinion even to this day.— 
This was the cafe in fome places of the eafl and north country. 
But in the wcflcrn parts of Scotland, where the epifcopal cler- 
gy were, almort to a man, ignorant, flothful or viciovis, they 
were univerfally deferted, and hardly a hngle adherent to that 

perfuafidn is now to be found. ^I cannot omit mcnlionini; 

here what was laid by a lady of quality at that time to Dr. 
Burnet, whcft he came to vifit the weft country. It was to the 
following; purpofe : " We of the laity cannot judt^e upon con- 
" troverfial points, but we ice thcfe men whom you perfecutc, 
""* j^rave in their deportment, llriclly holy in their converfation, 
*' and very laborious in their funclions, while many of yovir 
*' clerf^y arc it^norant, (lothful and vicious." This is what de- 
termines the jvidgment of the people. 



by its Moral Influence, 401 

I conclude the illuftration of this head with remarking, 
that tlie principle above laid down will explain, in a clear 
and fatisfying manner, two appearances in the moral 
world, which ieem dire£lly to coritradift one another. By 
what happens Ibmetimes in religion, we fhall be apt to 
conclude, that there is in human nature a pronenefs to 
change, or a love of novelty purely on its own account. 
Accordingly we find this laid to the charge of mankind 
by feveral authors. And it cannot be denied, that Ibme 
men, or fetts, often introduce new practices which ac- 
quire great reputation, and almoll univerfal acceptance. 
By other examples, however, we are taught to afcribe to 
human nature a ilrong attachment to okl opinions, and 
hatred of all innovation. What is remarkable is, that 
both thefe take place chiefly in little circumflances, and 
things of fmail moment; new inventions being fometimes 
gone into with a zeal, and old cuUoms adhered to with an 
obrtinacy, which the intrinfic value of the things contend- 
ed for does not feem to merit on either fide. To afcribe 
this to the different difpofitions of individuals u^ill not be 
a fatisfa£lory folution, for we fee fometimes exarriples of 
both in the lame perfons. But, by fearching a little deep- 
er, we fliall unravel this difficulty, and difcover, that 
though the love of novelty, or a veneration for antiquity, 
may be fometimes the immediate principle of action, there 
is another ultimate principle which is the caufe of both, 
and in different circumftances, produces either the one or 
the other. This principle is no other than that admira- 
tion of real or fuppofed worth, which has been illuflrated 
above. Whoever hath acquired a great reputation for 
piety and holinefs, may eaiily introduce any indifferent 
practice, though not common before, efpecially if it be 
confidered as an evidence or exprelfion of his piety. On 
this fuppofition, his differing from, or doing more than 
others, will be taken notice of to his praife.fj But he may 

a There is great reafon to think that it was in this very way 
that many different rites were brought into the Chriftian 
church, which in a long courfe of time grew into a mafs of 
abominable fupcrftition. They were at ^\\\)l, perhaps, but the 
modes or circumftances of the worfliip, or pradice of pious 

Vol. II. 3 E - 



402 The Trial cf RcHgioiis Truth 

much more eafily introduce a new, than depart from an 
old CLiftom. The reafon is plahi; for ancient cuRonis 
having been e'labhfhed on the ground aheady adigned, 
men are ufually very tenacious of them, and it requires 
no fmall dej^ree of credit and charader, either to change 
or to abolilh them. 

We now proceed to make fome pratlical improvement 
of what has been faid. 

In the firll place, from what has been faid upon this 
fubjeft, we may derive one of the plaineli: and moll liUif- 
fying proofs of the truth of the gofpel. A proof, level to 
the meaneit capacity, and therefore proper to preferve or- 
dinary Chriftians from being (liaken by the bold and in- 
folent attacks now made on religion by fome of the lowed 
rank. A proof, at the fame time, not only deferving the 
attention of the moll intelligent, but which of all others, is 
certainly the moft decifive. Let us try it by its fruits. 
Let us compare the temper and character of real Chrif- 
tians, with thofe of infidels, and fee which of them bed 
merits the approbation of an honell and impartial judge. 
Let us take in every circumllance that will contribute to 
make the comparifon juft and fair, and fee what will be 
the refult. I fay this, becaufe I can by no means allow, 
that great multitudes though born in a country where 
Chriltianity is profeil'ed, ought to be confidered as Chrif- 
tians, when they are open and violent enemies to the gof- 
pel in all its parts. They ought rather to be thrown into 
the fcale of infidelity. But, iince moll of them have 
formed no fixed principles at all, becaufe they have never 
thought upon the fubjccl, we fliall leave them entirely out 
of the quefiion. 

Is then the character and practice of infidels in gene- 
ral, once to be compared with that of fuch Chriftians as 
believe upon perfonal convidlion ? However much the 
natural fenfe of right and wrong may be obfcured and 
perverted in fome, 1 fliould think there are very few who 

pcrfons, bill from bcint^ voluntary and purely cirruniflantial, 
they came by (lep;rees to be conlulered aspaitsof relis^ious 
Avorfhip : and tlic-refore iinlul in the perl'onners, but much 
more linlul in the impol'ers. 



by its Moral Influence, 403 

Tvill not manifefily perceive to whom the preference is 
clue. In which of the two do you find the moft regular 
and fervent piety towards God ? Here, perhaps, it will be 
faid, This is what no man expefts to find in unbelievers, 
it is no part of their plan, and therefore ought not to be 
included in the comparifon. But as the general fenfe of 
mankind does not require it, fo 1 can never fufFcr that our 
duty to God iliould be erafed out of the moral law. Be- 
fides, the general pretence now, is not atheifm but theifm. 
The quefiion is therefore altogether pertinent ; and per- 
fons of this charafter are felf-condemned, who, by their 
total neqlcft of all religious worfiiip, are as much charge- 
able with impiety as infidelity. — In which of the two is to 
be found the greatell integrity and uprightnefs in their 
commerce between man and man, the mofl unfeigned 
good- will, and moil acSlive beneficence to odiers ? Is it 
the unbeliever or the Chriftian, who clothes the naked 
and deals his bread to the hungry ? Afl^ the many and 
noble ancient llructures raifed for the relief of the difeafed 
and the poor, to whom they owe their efiablifliment and 
fupport ? — AVhich ofthefe two clafles of men are moft 
remarkable for felf-government ? How often is the unex- 
perienced youth initiated in debauchery of all kinds, by 
thefe very friends of mankind, who charitably declaim 
againll prieftcraft and delufion, and happily eradicate the 
prejudices of education, by treating religion and ail reli- 
gious perfons with derifion and fcorn ? With what fatal 
I'uccefs has the infidel often feduced the unwary virgin 
unto the deftruclive paths of lufl:, by firfl loofening the 
obligation of religion, and then juftifying the indulgence 
of every natural defire ? We fliall carry the comparifou 
no further in this place ; but I muft beg of every one who 
hath had the happinefs to be acquainted with an eminently 
pious, humble, aftive, ufeful Chrillian, to fay, whether 
he can admit it as poflible, under the adminiftration of a 
wife and good God, that fuch a perfon is governed by a 
fable invented by deiigning villains, while the infidel 



404 TZ'-" Trial of Religious Truth 

alone Is in pofTefTion of the truth, which is pure in its na- 
ture, and mufl be proved by its iVuits.f^ 

In the 2d place, fince not only religion in pjeneral, but 
every particular dodlrine of religion ought to be tried by 
its fruits, let neither minillers nor people, ever lofe view 
of this great rule in t!:ie dotlrines which they teach on th^ 
one hand, or euibrace on the other. Let us alfo particu- 
larly remeniber, that no credit is to be given to any hi;:h 
profeffions or bold pretences, but as they are confirmed 
by the fadt. I obferve here, Vv'ith much pleafure, what ad- 
vantage the fundauienlal Scripture doftrines, which have 
been long th,e glory and happincfs of this church, will de- 
rive from aiair and full enquiry into their influence and 
eiTefts. The doclrinesi mean are, the loft Hate of man 
by nature ; falvation by the free grace of God ; juflifica- 
tion by the imputed righteoufnefs of Chrift ; and fanftifi- 
cation be the effcQual operation of the Holy Spirit. Thefe 
were the doftrlnes of the reformation, when their excel- 
lence was put beyond all doubt or quelVion, by their pow- 
erful and valuable efFeds. Many adverfaries indeed, 
ibon rofe up to contradict or to corrupt them ; and it is 

a I am fenfible it is often pretended, that feveral infidels have 
been men of unblemifl^^ed morals. CoUias was a good nian, 
fay fome, and Shafteibury was yet a better man. Perhaps, 
thefe individuals mii^ht not be chargeable v.ith the mofl open 
diflblution, and groireit fenfuality, which would have been in- 
conliftent with their giving themfelves to clofe fludy and appli- 
cation. B'jfides, they wlio aiTaulted with fo much boldneis, 
eftabliflied opinions, mull have been under a coniiderablc re- 
ftraint, from a regi-.rd to their character and caufc. .This ought 
not to be rejecled as an improbal^Ie fuppofition, or uncharitable 
allegation againft them, who fo liberally reproach others, with 
infmcere, hypocritrcal, and faint-like pretences. But after all, 
making even the largefl allowances, there is one piece of con- 
duct, of which both the above-named perfons were habitually 
guilty, which it is impoflible for me to reconcile with good 
morals, even upon the laxeft principles that have ever yet been 
avowed. What 1 mean was, theii Iblemnly receiving the ho- 
ly facramcnt, to qualify thcmfchi-^s for bearing office in their 
country, though they believed it to be altogether impofturc and 
deceit. This was fuch a piece of grofs and aggravated difii- 
mulation, as it is impofiVole either to defend in itfelf, or to fup- 
pol'e conhftent with lulcgrily upon the whole. 



by lis Moral Influence. 405 

much to be lamented that they are, at prefent, by many, 
fo boldly and fo violently oppofed in this once happy 
ifland. But we may venture to affirm, that \yhen the 
doctrine of the crois retained its purity and fimplicity then 
was true religion, including every moral virt.ue, leen to 
grow from it as its fruit- On the other hand when and 
wlierever 'it has been run down, and a pretended moral 
doctrine has been introduced, to the prejudice and fub- 
verfion of the grace of God, it hath been always loliowed 
by a deluge of profanenefs and immorality in practice. 
It is eafy and common to difguife the truth by mifrepre- 
fentation, or to vilify it by opprobrious titles, it is eafy to 
pretend a warm zeal for the great doctrines of morality, 
and frequently to repeat, in a pulpit, the necefiity of ho- 
linefs in general ; but all impartial perfons ought, and the 
world in general will judge, more by works than by words. 
Let us fuppofe, for exaniple, the old objection revived 
againlt a minifter who preaches the doctrine of grace, that 
it loofens the obligations to holinefs of life; The objection 
is, of all others, the mod fpecious : yet, if that minifter 
difcharges his duty with zeal and diligence, watches over 
his people's fouls, reproving, rebuking, exhorting with all 
long fuffering and doctrine ; is flrict and holy in his own 
converfation, abliorring and flying from the fociety of the 
ungodly ; and if the eiTeifL of his minillry be to turn many 
jinners from the error of their ways, and to make an in- 
telligent, ferious, regular people, the accufation will not 
be received: and who will lliy that it ought ? On the other 
fiand, is any minifter more covetous of the fleece, than 
diligent for the welfare of the flock ; cold and heartlefsin 
liis facred work, but loud and noify in promifcuous and 
fooliih converfation ; carelefs or partial in the exercife of 
difcipline; covering or palliating the fins of the great, 
becaufe they may promote him ; making friends and com- 
panions of profane perfons; though this man's zealfhould 
burn like a flame againft Antinomianifm, and though his 
own unvaried (train Ihoukl be the neceffity of holinefs, I 
would never take him to be any of its real friends. 

Let us not, my brethern, deceive ourfclves, or attempt 
to deceive others by plaufible pretences. Let us all be 



40 6 The Trial of Religious Truth 

zealous for good works ; not the name, but the thing. 
Let us not expert to promote them by a little cold reafon- 
jng, or aficfted flowery declamation ; but b)' the fmipli- 
city of the gofpel ; by the do6lrine of the crofs, which will 
not only tell men that they oujrht to be holy, but effectually 
bring them to that happy Itate. The leading principle 
of true holinefs, according to the gofpel, is a deep and 
grateful fenfe of redeeming love. " For the lov^e of Chrift 
*' conllraineth us, becaufe we thus judge, that if one died 
*^ for all then were all dead ; and that he died for all, th.at 
*' they which live, fhould not henceforth live unto them- 
" felves, but unto him which died for them, and rofe 
*' again. "<^ 

In the 3d place, from what has been faid on this fubje6l 
you may fee, in a very llrong liglit, how neceflary it is, 
tliat minifters fliould be, not only really but vilibly and 
eminently holy ; and with how much care they are bound 
to avoid every appearance of evil. There are fome mi- 
nillers who ilrongly plead for libert}^ and freedom, and 
loudly complain of the malice, uncharitablenefs, and cen- 
forioufnefs of the world. They feem as if they deiired, 
nay, which is ftill more foolifli, expected, that no part of 
their conduct fliould be attended to, or any inference 
drawn from it with refpcdt to their character. This will 
never be the cafe till they are invifible. It appears, from 
what hath been ftiid in the preceding difcourfe, that it is 
the right and the duty of every man to try a mini Her by 
his fruits. Ignorance indeed, may fometimes be guilty 
of midakes to our prejudice, and malice or envy may go 
too far ; yet this is only what we ought to lay our account 
with, and it fliould excite us, not to a contempt of the 
judgment of others, but to greater Uriftnefs and circum- 
fpedtion, that " they may be alhamed who falfely accufe 
'■'■ our good converl'ation in Chrill." 

It is very hurtful in this as in many other cafes, when a 
man views things only on one fide. Some are apt to im- 
pute fo much to the malice and uncharitablenels ol the 
world, that they feldom or never think thenifclvcs truly 
guilly of any ollcncc or mifcarriage. I am perfuaded ma- 
a 2 Cor. V. 1 4. 



by Its Mdrat Influence* 4c>7 

ny are in a manner blinded to the errors of their own con- 
du£l, by this very circumllance. Or, if they cannot but 
be fenfible that they have been guilty of fomething that 
was wrong, when the fault is aggravated by report, they 
feem to think that this atones for any thing really Wame- 
worlhy, and fo are hardened both againil confefiion and 
repentance. To fpeak without p«rejudice, it is more than 
])robable, that we are as much chargeable with unguarded 
and ofFenfive conduft, on the one hand, as the world with 
precipitate or partial judgment on the other. It hath been 
foPiietimes obferved, that the multitude or common people 
are but poor judges of a man's ability or learning, but they 
are very good judges of his life. There is a great deal of 
truth in this obfervation ; and to fupport it I add, that 
even a hypocritical pretence is extremely hard to main 
tain, and [q often betrays iifelf by little circumftances, that 
there are very few whofe real character is not better under- 
iiood by the world than by themfelves. The chief excepti- 
on I know to this is the cafe of violent party difputes. The 
injullice done to charaQers on each fide there, is very 
great. If you take a man's charadler from one to whom 
he Hands in party oppofition, you mud conceive him not 
a man but a monfler. But (letting this afide, which does 
not fall within the compafs of our prefent fubjedl) in ge- 
neral, it is furely much more becoming, and it is infinite- 
ly more lafe for us to fufpeft ourfelves, than to complain 
of hard meafure from the world. Let us therefore, by 
doubling our diligence in every perfonal and minilierial 
duty, endeavor to " make our light fo Ihine before men, 
'' that they may fee our good works, and glorify our Father 
" which is in heaven."^ 

In the 4ih place I muft now take the liberty, in fideli- 
ty to the trull committed to me, to be a little more parti- 
cular in the application of this fubject, and to enc]uire, 
whether minillers are not, in a good meafure, chargeable 
with the low Hate to which religion is at prefent reduced. 
May I not fay without oHence, that an eminent, holy, di- 
ligent, and fuccefsful gofpel miniilry was once the glory 
and blelling of this part of the united kingdom ! But how 

a Mutt. V. IG. 



4o8 The Trial of Religious Truth 

are we fince fallen afleep I " How is the gold become 
•' dim ! How is the moll fine gold changed ! That there 
is a diiTerence is plain ; and that this difference does not 
lie in interior abilities or a lefs proportion of learning, is 
equally certain. I am fcnfible, diat this is a part of my 
fubject which would require to be touched with a very 
tender and delicate hand, and that, perhaps, I run as great 
a hazard to inflame and exafperate the ibre, as to bring 
any efieclual cure. This is, indeed, itfcif, one firong 
fymptoni of our difeafe, that we cannot endure plain deal- 
ing ; and there is not a fingie circumffance, in which there 
is a greater diiTcrence between this and the preceding age. 
What in former times would have been reci<.oned (to fpeak 
in their hmguage) no more than piainnefs and minifterial 
freedom, v/ould now be called the molt llanderous invec- 
tive and unpardonable abufe. Inflead, therefore, of takinj^ 
upon me to fay who are chiefly to be blamed as the crimi- 
nal caufes of it, I fliall only afKrm and lament the me- 
lancholy effed:, that we have in many places of this church 
a defpiled, forliiken, ufelefs minillry ; that many of the 
people have gone from mountain to mountain, and for- 
gotten their relling place, while a Hill greater number is 
fafl afieep in ignorance, fecurity, and floth. AVhere is: 
that union, that mutual eileen"i and afledlion, which once 
iubfifted between minifters and their people. It muit be 
acknov/ledged, that their influence and authority is now 
in a great meafure loil, and therefore I may fafely con- 
clude that their ufefulnefs is gone. That the fault is all 
on one fide, is neither a modefl: nor a probable fuppofition. 
Should we throw the blame olFourfclves, what a terrible 
load muft we thereby lay upon others ? we mull fuppofe 
and fay, that under a blamenefs minillry, under the bed 
ami pure!! of in{lru6lion, one part of the nation is funk in 
brutality and iloth, and the other rent in pieces by divifi- 
on, and religion loff in the fury of contending parties. 

AVe may fay fo, my brethren, and fome do fay what 
amounts to the fame thing, but it is not credible. 1 do 
therefore, in the mod earncft manner befeech everv minif- 
ter in this audience, ferioufly to think, how far he hath 
given jud caufe to his people to defpife his perfon, or de- 



by its Moral Infiaence* 409 

lert his miniflrations.. Let us not. fo infin: upon. the igno- 
rance, prejudices, and weaknefsofthe giddy multitude, as 
if a faihire on our part was impoiTible. We may be Ibme- 
times blamed in the wrong place; but we have, perhaps, 
as much refpedl in general, as we really deferve. Do not 
think itisfufficient that yoii are free from grofs crimes, fuch 
as blafphemy, riot, and unclean lufl. Blefled be God, 
nothing of this kind would yet be fufFered among us with- 
out cenfure. But there are many other things, which, 
either feparately or together, render a minifter judly con- 
temptible, on which no law, either civil or ecclefjaftic can 
lay hold. If one fet apart to the fervice of Chrift in the 
gofpel, manifeflly (hows his duty to be a burden,, and does 
no more work than is barely fufficient to fcreen him fromi 
cenfure ; if he reckons it a piece of improvement how fel- 
dom or how fhort he can preach, and makes his boaft how 
many omiffions he has brought a patient and an injured 
people to endure without complaint ; while at the fame 
time, he cannot fpeak with temper of thofe who are wil- 
ling to do more than himfelf ; however impoflibleit may 
be to afcertain his faults by a libel, he juilly merits the 
deteflation of every faithful miniiler, and every real 
Chrifliarl. 

The things here in view, though they are eafily feen, 
are difficult to defcribe ; and, therefore, 1 fhall not attempt 
to be more particular. But I cannot forbear warning you 
againfl, and pointing out the evil of two pieces of diflio- 
nefly, which may pofTibly be found united to gravity and 
ciecency in other refpeds. One of them is common in 
our neighbor kingdom, and may poflibly have taken place 
among ug, though I cannot affirm it. The other, I am 
certain, hath many times taken place in the church of 
Scotland. The firft is a minirter's fubfcribing articles of 
do(!?trine, which he does not believe. This is fo direct 
a violation of fmcerity, that it is aftonifhing to think, how- 
men can fet their minds at eafe in tiie profpe6t, or keep 
them in peace after the deliberate commiffion of it* Tlie 
very excufcs and«vafions, that are offered in defence of it, 
are a difgrace to reafon as well as a fcandal to religion. 
What fuccefs can be expelled from that man's mini dry, 

Vol. II. 3 f 



410 ^e Trial of Religious Truth 

who begins it with an adl of fuch complicated guilt. How 
can he take upon him to reprove others for fm, or to train 
them up in virtue and true goodnefs, while himfelf is 
chargeable with diredl, premeditated, and perpetual per- 
jury. I know nothing fo nearly refembling it, as thofe 
cafes in trade, in which men make falfe entries, and at 
once fcreen and aggravate their fraud, by fwearing, or 
caufing others to fvA'ear contrary to truth. This is juflly 
reputed fcandalous even in the world, and yet I know no 
circumftance in which they differ, that does not tend to 
fliow it to be lefs criminal than the other. We are not 
yet fo much hardened in this fin as many in our neighbor 
church, for I have never found any among us fo bold as to 
profefs and defend it. But, if no fuch thing is at all admit- 
ted among us, Why is there fo heavy a fufpicion of it ? 
Why do fo many complain, that the great and operative 
dodlrines of the gofpel are withdrawn, and an unfubflan- 
tial theory of virtue fubflituted in their place ? Or why 
are not fuch complaints put to filence, fmce it may be fo 
eafily done ? Appearances are certainly fuch as will war- 
rant me in mentioning it upon this occafion : and I have 
particularly chofen to introduce it upon this fubjedl, that 
I may attack it not as an error, but as a fraud ; not as a 
miftake in judgment, but an infiancc of grofs dilhonefly 
and infincerity of heart. Suppofing, therefore, that there 
may poflibly be truth in the charge againlt fome of us, I 
muft beg every minifler, but efpecially thofe young per- 
fons who have an eye to that facred office to remember, 
that God will not be mocked, though the world may be 
deceived. In his fight, no gravity of deportment, no 
pretence to freedom of enquiry, a thing excellent it itfelf, 
no regular exercife of the right of private judgment, will 
warrant or excufe fuch a lie for gain, as folemnly to fub- 
fcribe what they do not believe. 

The other particular I propofed to mention is the fo- 
lemn attcllation of men's charad\ers, not only in general, 
but for particular qualities, without any fatisfying know- 
ledge whether the thing affirmed is true or falfe. This 
hftth been often done in the church of Scotland, not by 
particular perfons, with whom we might renounce relati- 



by its Moral Influence, 41 i 

on, but by confent of many, gravely and deliberately in 
conflituted courts. Can we avoid making the following 
obvious but melancholy reflexion. Plow great is the 
blindnefs of men to thofe fins which are introduced by 
degrees and countenanced by prevailing fafhion ? Should 
vi^e be told by an hiflorian of credit, that, in one of the 
dark and corrupt ages of popery, it was common for a bo- 
dy of minifiers, when defired, to give a figned attefta- 
tion to particular perfons, that they were ftri£t obfervers 
of the fabbath, and worfhipped God regularly in their fami- 
lies, while the perfons attefting kne^v nothing of the mat- 
ter, and, in fa£l, wnth regard to fome of them, it was ab- 
folutely falfe — Would there be a diflenting voice in affir- 
ming, that fuch men mufl: have been loft to all fenfe of in- 
tegrity, and utterly unworthy of regard ? What fliall we 
fay, if the fame thing is done among us every day, and de- 
fended by no better argument than the judgment of chari- 
ty, which believeth all things ? Charity teaches us to be- 
lieve no ill of another without fatisfying evidence, and for- 
bids us to fpread it, although it be true, without apparent 
neceffity. But will charity either juftify or excufe us, in 
folemnly affirming a pofitive fa£t, the exiflence of which 
is uncertain in itfelf, and to us, unknown. I do not take 
upon me to fay that all are bad men who are guilty, by 
adl or confent, of this practice, becaufe I do not know how 
far the plea of ignorance or miftake my go ; -but this may 
be fafely faid that they do in a public capacity, what, if 
they were to do in a private capacity between man and 
man, would render them contemptible, or infamous, or 
both. 

Thefe two particulars have often brought reproach up- 
on the church of Scotland, to which it is very difficult to 
make a proper reply. Would to God the occafion giveri 
for it were wholly taken away. In the mean time, every 
one who has a juft regard to the glory of God, or the fuc- 
cefsof his own work, will endeavour to maintain fuch an 
uniformity of charader, as will bear that examination, to 
which it ought in juftice, and muft of neceffity be expo? 
fed. 



4^^' The Trial of Religious Trut^ 

In the laft: place, I mufl beg leave to fpeak a few words 
to the people in general, on the fubjedl ot this diicourfe. 
You may learn, my brethren, from the preceding dii- 
courfe, by what rule you ought lo judge, in all religious 
controverfies, where a determination isnecefiary. Try all 
principles by their effetls, and every perfon's pretences 
by his conduift. Kxamime, as far as you have proper 
evidence, who have real and vital religion moft at heart, 
and what means do efTedlually promote it. Believe not 
every profeflion, but fee which is moll confident in all its 
parts. Have patience, in difficult cafes, till the tree have 
time to bring its fruits to maturity. l"ime will often 
Write a clear and legible charader, on what was very dark 
and dubious at firft. 

It is probable fome will be ready to fay, there is no 
fmall doubtfulnefs in this rule itfelf. There may be found 
good men of many different parties, how then fliall we 
judge between them ? I anfwer, wherever there is true 
religion, thefe perfons are to be confidered as the fervants 
of God, and his grace in them is to be conleifed without 
reluctance, and adored vvith thankfulnefs. There will, 
neverthelefs, be ilill fufficient means to diflihguifli be- 
tween one profeffion and anothci", which hath the greateft 
influence in making men truly good. There may be, here 
and there, a good man under very great difadvantages. 
This may ferve to keep us from a bigotted narrownefs of 
mind, and uncharitable condemnation of others. But it 
will never occafion, in any prudent perfon, a departure 
from thefe principles, and thatdifpenfation of ordinances, 
which he fees to be bed for building him up in holinefs 
arid comfort, through faith unto falvation. The truth is, 
one great defign of this difcourfe was to tench men to dif- 
tinguiili between the upright and the worthlefs of all fedls. 
Turn your zeal from parties to perfons. Do not reproach 
or oppofe men merely becaufe they are of this or the other 
perfuafion. But wherever there is a wicked or a world- 
ly man in the office of a miniiier, avoid the wolf in flieep's 
clothing for your own fake, and, if poffible, drag off his 
dilguife, that others may not be his prey. What doth it 
■fignify what party a man is of, if the foundations are de^ 



by its Moral Influence. 413 

ilroyed, and truth and holinefs, thefe infeparable compani- 
ons, are trampled under foot ? When Ihall the time 
come, when the fincere lovers of Chrifl;, of every denomina- 
tion, ihall join together in oppofition to his open enemies 
and treacherous IViends ? There is a wonderful, though 
a natural union, among all worldly men, againfl the fpi- 
rit and power of true religion wherever it appears, I am 
forry to add, that this is one of the inftances in which the 
children of diis world artf vvifer in their generation than the 
children of light. Many will not meet together on earth 
for the worfliip of God, who fliall have but one temple at 
lafl:, where all from the eail and from the well;, from the 
north and from the fouth, fhall meet, and join in their Cre- 
ator's and Redeemer's praife. The terms of admiffion in- 
to, and of exclufion from this happy dwelling, are recor- 
ded in the following remarkable terms, with which I Ihall 
conclude this difcourfe, as indeed they are the fum of all 
that has been faid in it, " And there fliall in no wife enter 
" into it any thing that defileth, neither whatfoever work- 
*'eth abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are 
," written in the Lamb's book of life."^ 

o Rev. xxi. 27, 



[ 415 ] 



The Charge of Sedition and Faction againft good Men, 
elpecially faithful Ministers, confidered and accounted 
for. 



SERMON 39. 



Preached in the Abbey Church of Paifley, on Thurfday, 
September 7th, 1758, at the Ordination of Mr. Archi- 
bald Davidson, as one of the Minifters of that Church. 
To which is fubjoined, the charge to the Minifter, and 
the Exhortation to the People. Publilhed at the defire of 
thofe who heard it. 



ACTS xvii. 6. laft claufe. 

These that have turned the world upside down are come hithef 

also. 

My Brethren, 

YOU have had, of late, frequent opportunities of 
hearing difcourfes on the miniflerial chara(5ler and 
office. Thele fubjedts, indeed, have, on occafions of this 
and a fimilar nature, been fo often and fo well handled, 
that it is hard to fay any thing on them, v/hich Ihall not 
be either bare repetition, or an alteration very much for 
the worfe. I have therefore made choice at this time of 
a lubjedl: fomewhat different, but the ufefulnefs of which, 
both to miniflers and people may be eafily difcerned. 

A great part of the facred volume confitts of hiftory. 
And, as the knowledge of pad events, and the hiflory of 
mankind in general, is an improving Audy ; fo there is 



4t6 The Charge of Sedition and Faction 

no objeft of ftudy more pleafant or more profitable, than 
that extenfive view of the great plan of Providence which 
is exhibited to us in the word of God. There we have, 
accefs to obferve the power, the wifdom, and the grace of 
the various revelations of the divine will, given in fuc- 
ceffive ages, their correfpondence one to another, and how 
well each is fuited to the feafon, and other circuniflances 
of its difcovery. Above all, it is ufeful and delightful to 
obferve, the perfe(5l union and harmony of the whole, and 
the feveral ftriking and diftinguifliing characters that are 
to be found on all the works of the one, eternal and un- 
changeable God. 

This uniformity is in nothing more remarkable, than 
in the fufferings of good men, and their cauiesi True 
religion being the fame in fubdance in every age, we may 
cxpeft to find a very flrong likenefs in all the real fer- 
vants of God, however dillant the periods in \vhich they 
make their appearance. A conformity of Hate alio may 
be expelled, as well as a fimilarity of charafter. They 
have the fame end in view, they tread in the fame path, 
and therefore muft meet with refinance from the fame 
enemies. There was from the beginning, and there will 
be to the end of the world, a flrife and confli6l between 
the righteous and the wicked, between " the feed of the 
•' woman, and the feed of the ferpent." And, in parti- 
cular, it is natural to fuppofe, that flander and calumny 
will be always one of the weapons ufed by the enemies of 
the truth. We have no reafon then to be furprifed, that 
every good man fhould have occafion to fay with the Pfalm- 
ifl: David, and with a greater than he, the Son of David, 
" They laid to my charge things that I knew not.'' 

This was the cafe with the apoUle Paul and his com- 
panion, in the paflage of hillory of which my text is a part. 
But the nature of the accufation here brought againfl them 
feems to be fingular, and to merit particular attention. 
They were the fervants and the minillers of the Prince 
of peace. Their oilice was to preach and publifli tlie gof- 
pel of peace. Their doctrine was full of mceknefs and 
love. They discovered the love of God to men ; and, 
after the example of their mailer, they charged men to 



against Good Men accounted for » 417 

jpve one another. They were mean in their outward 
appearance, and neither poffeffed, nor claimed any earth- 
ly dominion. In one word, they had nothing about them 
that one would think could give jealoufy to the civil pow- 
er, that could feem formidable or dangerous to any cha- 
radier or clafs of men. Yet here they are charged as fedi- 
tious, as difturbersto the public peace, as enemies to the 
government. " Thefe that have turned the world upfide 
" down are come hither alfo.-— Thefe all do contrary to the 
*' decrees of Caef^ir, faying. That there is another king, 
*' one Tefus." What fort of an accufation is this .'' not 
only faife but improbable. Does not the arch-enemy, the 
accufer of the brethren, feem to have failed in his ufual 
fkill ? Is there the leaft profpedt of fuccefs info groundlefs 
a charge ? . 

But what fliall we fay, if, upon an accurate examina- 
tion it be found, that the fame charge hath been brought 
againfl: the fervants of God in every age ? That none hath 
been advanced v/ith greater boldnefs, and none with 
greater fuccefs ? Nay, perhaps, that it is the fmgle ftand'- 
ing charge, from which their enemies have nevei" departed 
fmce the beginning of the world, and which, of all others, 
hath been mod readily and molt univerfally believed. Ini 
other inftances, the reproaches thrown upon the children 
of God have been oppofite, and mutually dellrudtive of 
each other. Chrift: himfelf, when his zeal in his Father's 
bufinefs made him forget to eat bread, v/as faid to be befide 
himfelf, and mad. At other times he was called a cun- 
ning deceiver and mafier of the curious arts. But in this, 
his enemies, and thofe of his people, have never varied. 
And their fuccefs has been equal to their malice. They 
crucified him as an enemy to Cssfar, with the title of ufur- 
pation written over him ; and they have compelled all his 
tlifciples after him, to bear his crofs, and to groan under 
the weight of the fame unjufl and flanderous charge. 

There are few fubjeds more worthy of the ferious at- 
tention of thofe who firm.ly believe the word of God. None 
which will afford greater occafion to adore the myllcrious 
depth of divine Providence, or furnifh more inftrudtive 
lelFons to fuch as defire to hold on with lleadinefs in the 

V^OL. II. 3 C 



41 8 I'he Charge of Sedition and Faction 

paths of true religion. Above all, this fubjeft may be 
ufeful to minifters of the gofpel. It will contribute to af- 
certain the character which they ought to bear; to direct 
them in their duty ; to prepare them for, and fortify tliem 
againfl the trials which it is impoflible they can avoid. 

In difcoiirfing further upon this fubjedt it is propofed, 
through the alLliance of divine grace, 

I. By a fhort hiflorical dedu£lion, chiefly from the holy 
Scriptures, to fliew, That the chara6\er of Jeditious, trou- 
blefome, and diforderly, hath been conllantly given by 
vi^icked men to the lervants of God. 

II. To enquire, and endeavor to point out, what it is 
in true religion that gives occallon to this charge, and 
Itiakes the world prone to believe it. 

In the laft place. To make fome practical improvement 
of what may be laid. 

I return to the firft. of thefe, viz. 

I. By a fhort hiftorical deduilion, to fliew. That the 
(iharadter of feditious, troublefome, and diforderly, hath 
been conflantly given by wicked men to the fervants of 
God. — It would not be difficult to point out Ibmething of 
this fpirit prevailing in the world, from the life of almoft 
every good man, whofe name Hands upon record, how- 
ever fliort and general the account be, that is given of 
many of them in Scripture. But, as much of what might 
properly enough fall under this head, will be neceflary in 
the illullration of the fecond ; to prevent confufion and 
repetition, I (hall content myfelf with fome leading in- 
llances, in very difl'erent ages, from the earliefl: to the 
latell times. 

The firll I fhall mention is, a paflage as extraordinary 
in its nature, and as fmgular in its circuniflances, as any 
that hiflory affords. It is the meeting of Ahab and Elijah, 
in the time of a great famine in the land of Ifrael. Ahab, 
that profane prince, had by his apoftacy and idolatry, 
brought down the judgment of a righteous God, both oa 



against Good Men accou7it€dfor. 4$:^ 

•Ms kingdom and on his houfe. We are told, " That he 
*' did more to provoke the Lord God of Ifrael to anger, 
*' than all the kings of Ifrael that were before hinni."<2 He 
had perfecuted the v/orfhippers of the true God with un- 
4-elenting violence ; and, as it was natural to expedt, he 
hated with uncommon rancor, and diftinguiflied by un- 
common feverity, all the prophets who continued fled- 
fafl. in the caufe of truth. As many of them as he could 
]ay hold of, he had put to death. He had hunted for 
Elijah, not only through all the kingdom of Ifrael, but 
through the neighboring nations, as we find related by 
Obadiah his principal fervant, " As the Lord thy God 
" liveth, there is no nation or kingdom whither m.y lord 
*' hath not fent to feek thee ,: and when they faid, He 
" is not there : he took an oath of the kingdom and na- 
*' tion that they found thee VioVb After all this feve- 
rity on his part, when Elijah, by the command of God 
went out to meet him, fee the form of his falutation; "And 
^' it came to pafs, when Ahab faw Elijah, that Ahab faid 
" untQ him. Art thou he that troubleth Ifrael Vc To 
this the prophet makes the following llrong and jufl reply, 
" I have not troubled Ifrael ; but thou and thy father's 
" houfe, liave troubled Ifrael, in that thou haft forfaken the 
*' commandments of the Lord; and thou haft followed 
*' Baalim." 

Anoihftr inflance fimilar to the former may be found in 
Jehofliaphat ar.d Ahab's confultation before going out to 
battle. " And Jehofliaphat faid. Is there not here a pro- 
" phet of the Lord befides, that we may enquire of him ? 
*' And the king of Ifrael faid unto Jehofliaphat, There is 
" yet one man (Micaiah the fon of Imlah) by whom we 
" may enquire of the Lord ; but I hate him, for he doth 
" not prophefy good concerning me, but evil."c/ Here, 
you fee, Micaiah was the objeQ; of hatred and averfion, 
becaufe he denounced the judgment of God againll the 
king's vvickednefs. That vengeance which he himfelf 
not only merited, but folicited by his crimes, was attribii- 
ted to malice in the prophet. 

c I Kings xvi. 3 3. b 1 Kings xviii. 10. f-Ibid. ver,. IT* 
^ 1 Rings xxii. 7, 8« 



420 The Charge of Sedition and Faction 

See an inftance of a general accofation of this kind 
againft all the worfliippers of the true God, by Haman in 
,the book of Efther. " And Haman faid unto king Aha- 
*' fuerus, There is a certain people fcattered abroad, and 
*' difperfed among the people in all the provinces of thy 
" kingdom, and their laws are diverfe from all people, nei- 
*' ther keep they the king's laws ; therefore it is not for 
*' the king's profit to fuffer them."rt 

The prophet Jeremiah met with the fame treatment at 
different times. Neither prince, nor priefls, nor prophets, 
were able to bear without refentment, the threatenings 
which he denounced in the name of God. " Now it came 
*' to pafs, when Jeremiah had made an end of fpeaking 
** all that the Lord had commanded him to fpeak unto all 
*' the people, that the priefls and the prophets, and all the 
*' people took him, faying. Thou flialt furely die. Why 
*' haft thou prophefied in the name of the Lord, faying, 
*' This houfe fhall be like Shiloh, and this city fliall be de- 
" folate without an inhabitant, and all the people were 
" gathered againft Jeremiah in the houfe of the Lord.^ — 
*' Then fpake the priefls and the prophets unto the prin- 
" ces and to all the people, faying. This man is worthy to 
*' die, for he hath prophefied againft this city, as you have 
*' heard with your ears.'V We find him afterwards ex- 
prefsly accufed of treachery on the fame account. " And 
*' when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the 
" ward was there, whofe name w^z Irijah, the fon of She- 
*' lemiah, the Ion of Hananiah, and lie took Jeremiah the 
*' prophet, faying, Thou falleft away to the Chaldeans.'V/ 

The prophet Amos is another inflance, precifely paral- 
lel to thfe laft. Becaufe of his fidelity to God, he was in- 
vidioufly reprefented as an enemy to the king. '' Then 
** Amaziah the prielt of Beth-el fent to Jeroboam king of 
*' Ifrael, faying, Amos hath confpircd againft tiiee in the 
*' midft of the houfe of Ifrael : the land is not able to bear 
*' all his words. "t' 

Our bleffed Lord and Saviour fell under the fame accTi- 
fation. However plain and artlefs his carriage, he is call- 

a Efther iii. 8. k Jer. xxvi. 8,9. r Ibid. ver. 1 1. 
0? Jcr. xxxvii. 13. ijec alio ch?p. xxxviii. 4. e Amos vii. 10. 



against Good Men accounted for. 42 ^ 

jed a deceiver of the people. " There was much murmur- 
*•• ing among the people concerning him, for fome faid, 
*' he is a good man : others faid, Nay, but he deceiveth 
*' the people. "i2 His enemies endeavored to embroil him 
with the civil government by this infidious queilion, " Is 
*' it lawful to give tribute to Ciefar, or not ?'* And that 
which brought him at lad to the crofs was the fame pre- 
tended crime. " And from thenceforth Pilate fought to 
*' releafe him : but the Jews cried out, faying. If thou let 
*' this man go, thou art not Casfar's friend : whofoever 
" maketh himfelf a king, fpeaketh againfi: Caefar.''/^' 

I fliall clofe this view of the Scripture hiflory, with the 
paflage of which my text is a part. The whole crime of 
'the apoflle Paul, and his companion, was preaching the 
tlodlrine of the crofs of Chrifl;, his great and darling theme. 
We are toki, he '' opened'' and " alledged, that Chrill muft 
*' needs have fufFered, and rifen again from the dead." 
Then the Jews, to whom this doftrine always was a ftum- 
bling-block, were " moved with envy," and endeavored to 
inflame the refentment of the idolatrous nuiltitude : they 
took for their aflociates the moil wicked and profligate, 
*' Certain lewd fellows of the bafer fort :" They •' fet all 
" the city in an uproar :" And as, no doubt, the friends 
of Paul and Silas would endeavor to protect them from 
the injurious affault, their enemies very gravely charge 
them as the authors of the confufion, both there and elfe- 
where. " They that have turned the world upfide down, 
•*' are come hither alfo.*' 

Having produced thefe indances from the holy Scrii3- 
tures, which are liable to no exception, I fliall fay but 
little on the fubfequent periods of the church. Only in 
general, the fame fpirit will be found to have prevailed in 
every age. Whoever will take the pains to look into the 
hiflory of the church before the reformation, cannot fail 
to oblerve, that when any one, either among the clergy 
or laity, was bold enough to reprove the errors in dodlrine, 
or the ambition, luxury, and worldly lives of his cotem- 
poraries, he was immediately branded as a fa(5lious and 

« John vii. 12. b John xi:i. 12. 



422 7}je Charge of Sedition and Facticn 

diforderly perfon, and often fevereJy punifiied as an ene^ 
niy to the peace of the church. 

That this was the cafe with the firfl reformers, both at 
home and abroad, is too well known to need any proof. 
And we have had ftill more recent examples of it in both 
parts of the united kingdom. The noble flruggle which 
many in England made, about an hundred years ago, lor 
their liberties facred and civil, Hill bears the name of the 
grand rebellion. And it is remarkable, that, however 
jufi: a title they had to ftand up fur their rights as men and 
Chridians, ytX. their doing \o at that time, was in a great 
meafure owing to the fury and violence of their enemies, 
who were, in every refpecl, the aggreflbrs. A very judi- 
cious hillorian fays on this fubjeft, " That which, upon 
*' the whole, was the great caufe of the parliament's 
" flrength and the king's ruin, was, that the debauched 
*' rabble through the land, took all that were called Puri- 
" tans for their enemies ; fo that if a man did but pray in 
*' his family, or were but heard repeat a fermon, or finga 
*' pfalm, they prefently cried out. Rebels, roundheads, and 
" all their money and goods that were portable, proved 
*' guilty, how innocent foever they were themfelves. This 
" it w^as that filled the armies and garrifons of the parlia- 
*' ment with fober pious men. Thoufands had no mind 
*' to meddle with the wars, but greatly defired to live peace- 
*' ably at home, when the rage of foldiers and drunkards 
" would not fulTer them. "a 

And in Scotland, after the reftoration, though there was 
no Ib'uggle for civil liberty, all who chofe to obey God 
rather than man, either in the fubdance or circumflances 
of religious duties, were charged with treafon, and fullered 
as rebels. They were expelled from the church ; yet 
cenfured as fchifmatics. They were harraifed, fined and 
imprifoned, when living in peace, without any fault but 
*' concerning the law of their God ;" and yet complained 
of as troublefome. They were baniflied, excommunica- 
ted, and denied the common benefits of life ; and yet, 
when the extreme rigor of their oppreffors compelled 
them to take up arms in felf-defencc, they were condemn- 

ii Cidamy's Life of Baxter, Chap. IV. 



against Good Men accounted for, 421; 

ect in form of law for refifting that government which had 
denied them its prote6tion. 

I forbear to add any more particular examples ; but 
from the deduclion above given, it will plainly appear, 
that worldly men have been always difpofed, firfl: to op- 
prefs the children of God, and then to complain of injury 
from them, that by flander they might vindicate their op- 
prefllon. Their flander too, hath flill run in the fame 
itrain ; troublers of Ifrael, deceivers of the people, ene- 
mies to C^far, and turners of the world upfide down, 
have been the opprobrious titles generally given to the 
moft upright and mofl: faithful men, in every age and 
country. 

We proceed now, 

II. In the fecond place, To enquire, what it is in true 
Religion that gives occafion to this charge, and makes the 
world prone to believe it. 

That there mud be fomething of this kind is very evi- 
dent. So uniform an effe£l:, could not take place without 
an adequate caufe. And, to a ferious and attentive ob- 
ferver, I am perfuaded it is not difficult to difeern. The 
general caufe of this effed: is-, that, in an equivocal fenfe, 
the charge is jufi:. True religion does, indeed, give trou- 
ble and uneafmefs to wicked men, while they continue 
fuch ; and it cannot be fuppofed, but they will deeply re- 
fent it. In order to illullrate this a little more fully, I 
beg your attention to the three following obfervations. 

I. The example of the fervants of God, is a continual 
and fenfible reproach, to the contrary conduct of the men' 
of the world. Nothing can preferve peace to any man, 
but fome meafure of felf-fatisfaSlion. As a deceived heart 
turns the wicked afide, fo the continuance of felf-deceit is 
neceflary to his tafting thofe pleafures of fin in which his 
miftaken happinefs is placed. To reproach his conduct, 
therefore, is to diilurb his dream, and to wound his peace. 
And as pride, however finely difguifed, has the dominion 
in every unrenewed heart, how oft^nfive mufi: every fpe- 
cies of reproof be, to men of this charafter ? Now, is not 
the example of every good man, a fcvcre and fenfible, 
though filcnt, reproof to the v^'ickcd ? Witk whatever 



424 Tke Charge of Sedition and Factiofi 

fpeclous arguments men may fometlmes plead for ^m^ 

with whatever falfe pretences they may often excufe and 
palliate it to their own minds, when it is brought into one 
view vyith true religion, it is not able to bear the compar*. 
fon. The example of good men to the wicked is, like the 
fun upon a weak eye, diilrcfling and painful. It is excel- 
lent in iifelf, but it is offenfive to them. If I may fpeak ^6^ 
it flaflii's light upon the confcience, roufes it from a Itate of 
infenfible fecurity, points its arrows, and fharpens its (ling. 
What elfe was rt that produced the firll aft of violence 
that (lands upon record, the murder of Abel by his bro- 
ther Cain r Of this the apoftle John fpeaks in the follow- 
ing terms, " Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, 
••■and Hew his brother : and wherefore, flew he him? 
*•• Becaufe his own works were evil, and his brother'^' 
*' righteous." 

And, as every worldly man's own confcience is thus 
inade troublefome to him by the example of the children 
of God : fo it tends to fet finners at variance with one 
another, and expofes the conduct of each to the cenfure of 
the red. Sin, however univerfally pra6tjfed, is yet gene- 
rally fliameful. Confcience though bribed, and compara- 
tively blind in a man's own cafe, is often jnft and impar- 
tial, at leaft under far lefs bias, in the cafe of others. It is 
in this way, and in this way alone, that the public honor 
and credit of religion is prel'erved, amidll fo great a majo- 
rity who are enemies to it in their hearts. Mult not then, 
the example of a llrift and confcientious perfon, fet in the 
ilrongeft light the faults of thole who aft a contrary part, 
fo often as they happen to fall under obfervation together. 
Nay, does it not open the eyes of the world upon many 
leOTer blemifties which would otherways efcape its notice ? 
The degree of iliame that attends any praftice, is always' 
in proportion to the fenfe which the bulk of mankind have 
of the evil of it. And this fenfe cannot, by any means, 
be more Itrengthened, than by an example of what is 
good ; as deformity never appears \o fliocklng as when 
compared with perfeft beauty. Thus, a truly pious man 
is, by every initance of his vifible conduft, cxpofuig to 



tigalrist Good Mcri accounted for. 425 

feprop.ch fome one or other, and by confequence provo- 
king their rcferitnient. 

It is for this realon that men difcover fuch a pronenefs' 
to difpafage every profeflion of piety fuperior to their own. 
Hov/ common is it to albribe every I'uch appearance to 
weaknels or hypocrify. In the generahty of wicked men 
this is not fo properly irialice as felfdefe'n-cs. If they 
fiiould allow the excellence of fnch a charatter, it would 
be condcn-ining theirifclves out of their own mouths. 
Their inward refledlion, in all probability, is perfectly fi- 
Tiiilar to that of the Pliarifees, when Chrifl. alked them. 
Whether the baptifm of John was from heaven, or of men ? 
" They reafcned with themfclves, faying, If we fliall fay 
*' from heaven, he will fay unto us, Why did ye not then 
" believe him :" In the fame manner, fliould any confefs 
the excellence of a condudl oppofite to their own, it would 
be im])o[libie to avoid faying to them. Why do ye then 
fo fni againh light ? 

Every one will fee, that this mufi; neceflarily hold mofl: 
ftronglv in the cafe of thofe whofe cfBce, or whofe work, 
js of a public riature. They are like a city feton an hill. 
As their charat^.er is mod confpicuous, it is, by neceifary 
confequence, moH ufeful to the good, and moft provoking 
to the wicked. Faithful minillers of Chriil, for inflance^ 
are die lights of the world, and, by their piety and dili- 
gence, are a Handing reproach to the world lying in wick- 
ednefs. But, in a particular manner, they mud be the 
obje6ls of the hatred and refentment of thofe of their own 
order, who'v/ill not follow their deps. This is an evident 
confequence of the principle above laid down. As their 
character fufPers mod by the comparifon, their paffions 
mull neceflarily be mod inflamed. Let a minider of 
Clnidbe ever fo guarded in his fpeech, ever fo inoffenfive 
in his carriage, ever fo didant in reality from injuring 
others ; if he is more frequent or more affeftionare in 
preacliing, if he is more aiTiduons in the duties of his 
funclion, this mud naturally excite the refentment of the 
lazy, ilothful part of his profelfion. This of itfelf, is in- 
jury enough to thofe who love tiic". v/orldly eafe, and have 
r.iore plcafure in the pnill-llion of their benefice, than tlie 

Vol. il. 3 H 



426 The Charge of Sedition tine! Faction 

exercife of their office. Is this furpriUng ? Not in the 
lead. His conduct floes indeed molelt their quiet : it 
either forces them to greater diligence, or holds up their 
real charadler to light, and expofes them to contempt 
and fcorn. 

In order at once to confirm and iiluflrate this truth, be 
pleafed, my brethren, to obferve, that the force and malig- 
nity of envy in defaming of charafters, is always in pro- 
portion to the nearnefs of the perfon to vvhom the charac- 
ter belongs. Diftance, either of time or place, greatly 
abates, if not wholly extinguifiits it. Suppofe the charac- 
ter of a perfon drawn, vho lived many ages ago, or even 
at prefent in a very difiant country ; Ibppofe him repre- 
sented as eminent in virtue of every kind, as remarkably 
diligent, as indefatigably aflive in doing good ; there are 
few who fliew any difpofition to call in queilion the facl:, or 
impute it to finifler motives. But let the fame he the ap- 
parent charai^ter of any man among his cotemporaries, 
and how many are immediately up in arms againft him ? 
How implicitly do they believe, and with what pleafure 
do they Ipread every idle calumny to his prejudice ? How 
is his piety immediately converted into hypocrify, his zeal 
into faction and ill nature, his fervor and diligence into af- 
fedation and love of popularity ; and, in a word, every 
valuable quahty into that vice, by which it is moft com- 
monly or mod artfully counterfeited. 

That this dift'erence of judgment is entirely owing to 
the reafon I have ailigned, will further appnar, if you con- 
fjder, that fo foon as a connexion of the fame nature hap- 
pens, by any accidental circumllance to be eftabliflied, 
the fame invidious refentment imniediately takes place 
againll the moll didant charatlers. What inveterate pre- 
judice do infidels generally ihow, againfl the charaders of 
the Scripture faints, and thofe of the fathers of the Chrillian 
church, becaufe the eflablifliment of fuch charaiSters does 
necelfarily and manifefily infer the overthrow of the caiife 
in which they are embarked. In the mean time, the wife 
irien of the heathen nations are fullered to pod'efs, without 
contradiction, all the rej/jlation which their countrvnient 
inf after- ages have thought fit to be flow upon them. Nay, 



against Good Men accounted for, 4^7 

Sometimes to ferve a certain parpofe, their charader is in. 
creaied and magnified beyond all reafonable bounds. — 
What pains have been t.'.ken by thofe Chrillians, who pa- 
tronize the modern inventions and improvements in theo- 
logy, to undermine the characters of the moft eminent 
champions of tlie ancient faith? What would fome perfons 
teach us to believe of Athanafius and AuguIHne in earlier, 
Calvin, Luther and Melandhon in later times? I^ot that 
we have not well attelled evidence of their piety and in- 
tegrity, but that, being of different fentiments from their 
accufers, the excellence of their chara<5ter is too good a 
fupport to their caufe,^ 

2. Another reafon why the fervants of God are repre^ 
fented as troublefome is, becaufe they will not, and dare 
not comply with the fmful commandments of men. la 
matters merely civil, good men are the moft regular citi- 
zens and the moft obedient fubjeds. But, as they have a 
Mailer in heaven, no earthly power can conftrain them 
to deny his name or defert his caufe. The reply of Peter 
and John to the Jewifti rulers when they were commands 
£d " Not to fpeak at all or teach in the name of Jefus," 

a I take the opportunity here to add, That the principle 
above laid down, will plainly account for the great and unaf- 
fiulted reputation, which the Monks and retired devotees fo 
long enjoyed in popifli times. It was their reputation, indeed, 
which upheld for fo long a period, that immenfe load of idola- 
trous fuperftjtion, the RoniiQa religion ; and it was not loft, 
till thev were grofly corrupted, and convents were become re- 
ceptacles of the moft fliamcful impurity and iuft. Thefe per- 
ibns were fcparated from the world. No frequent, and few 
pear comparifons, could be made between them and others. 
Nay, their characler was voluntary, and peculiar to themfelves, 
containing no pretence of an obligation upon all others to 
imitate it ; and therefore, they Avere futfered to live uncnvicd. 
But if any perfons of piety towards God, and fidelity to their 
Mafter's caufe, live in the world, and rpfufe to be conformed 
to it, they muft expecl the farne treatment that he met with. 
This he hath told them himfelf, " If the world hate you, ye 

<' know that it hated me before it hated you. a The fervaut 

*' is not gi-eater than the Lord. If they have perfecutcd mc, 
" they will alfo perfecute you ; if they have kept my fayjni^s 
^^ they will keep yours alfo."i^ 

a John XV. 18. b Verfe 20, 



428 The Charge of Sedition and Fa c Lion 

was in tlie following terms, " Whether it be right in the 
" fight of God, to hearken unto you more than unto God, 
" judge ye."« With what invincible conflancy and refo- 
lution did Shadrach, Mtlliach, and Abedne^o refufe to 
bow before Nebuchadnezzar^s golden image? The cafe of 
Daniel was perl'e6\ly fiinilar, vvhom even the king's com- 
mandment could not rellrain from prayer to God. 

When good men are unhaj)pily brought into thefe cir- 
,cum(lances, their condudt is an apparent contradiftion to 
authority. How ready are lordly and oppreflive tyrants 
to flyle it cbftinacy and pride? And Vv'hen are there want- 
ing flavifli and fubmillive flatterers near every inferior 
tribunal, to aggravate the crime, and to cry, " If thou 
*' let this man go, thou art not Casfar's friend ?'' It is not 
to be imagined, indeed, but fuch as are ftrangers to true 
religion, mud be greatly provoked at thofe who will not 
comply implicitly with their commands. There is a re- 
markable pafiage in a letter of Piiny the younger, to the 
emperor Trajan, which plainly points out the lentiments 
entertained by many on this fubjedt. He was a man in 
other matters abundantly humane, and yet hear his own 
account of his treatment of the Chriftians when brought 
to his tribunal. " 1 alked them if they were Clirillians ; 
" if they confelTed, I allied them again threatening pu- 
" nifliment. If they perfilled, I commanded them to be 
" executed ; for I did not at all doubt but, whatever their 
" confeffion was, their llubbprnefs and inflexible obftina- 
" cy ought to be punifhed.'' 

There is a love of dominion natural to all men, which 
is under no controul or rellraint in thofe who are void of 
religion. This mull naturally difpofe them to carry on 
their fchemes, and to infill on having them univerfall}^ 
complied with. It frets and provokes them, therefore, to 
iind any who will not be fubfervient to their pleafures. 
A refufal to obey, on a principle of confcience, is ex- 
prefsly fetting bound:: to their authority, and faying. Hi- 
therto llialt thou go, but no further. How few are able to 
bear this with paj;ience, the hillory of the world in every 
age is one continued proof. 

ei Acts iv. 19. 



against Good Mpi accounted for. 429 

Such refufals alfo, do always reflect fome diflionor upon 
ihe meafures to which they Hand in oppoiition. Whate- 
ver any perfon refufes to do, he, as far as in him lies, re- 
prefents as wrong and finful; and, in fome refpe6ls, un- 
worthy or unfit to be done. Thus it conies to be conii- 
dered not only as withdrawing his own allegiance, but as 
corrupting and fcducing others. And no doubt, it tends 
to draw the attention ot" the world to the difputed com- 
mand, and makes fome, perhaps, lift and examine what 
they had before blindly gone into without fufpicion. — 
Hence it naturally follows, that whenever fuch interfe- 
rence happens between human and divine authority, good 
men mud be confidered as diforderly and troublefome ; 
and thofe of them of all others moll troublefome, who 
with the greatert conflancy adhere to their duty, or who, 
with the greatefl honelly and boldnefs, refill and oppofe 
corrupt meafures. 

It is lefs furprifing to fmd inflances of this between hea- 
then and Chriftian, between the profeilmg fervants and 
open enemies of the true God. But it is ailonilhing to 
think, how often the fame thing has happened between 
Chriftian and ChriRian, who ought to have been better 
acquainted with the rights of confcience, the meafures of 
lubmilTion, and the duty of forbearance. Not only all 
the perfecutions, but many, if not mod, of the fchifms 
and divifions that have fallen out in the Chriftian church, 
liave arifen from the rigorous impofitions of ufurped au- 
thority. Unj'jft authority is the very eflence of popery. 
The church of Rome has exprefsly claimed a power of 
making laws to bind the confcience, diftincl from the laws 
of God -, and feverely puniflies all who call this authority 
in queRion. Nor hath this been confined to them : pro- 
tellant churches, though their feparation is founded upon 
the very contrary principle, have yet often in praClice 
acled in the fame arbitrary manner. They infill upon 
obedience to all their appointments, however finful in the 
judgment of the fubjefl: and, as a good man will not com- 
ply in fuch cafes, how often doth it happen, that, after 
they have expelled him from their fociety, dript him of 
his oilice, and robbed him of his maintenance, they alfo 



43<> 1^^^ Charge of Sedition and Faclion 

cafi: out his name as evil, loudly charge him as feditious 
and troublefome, and the author of all that confulioii 
which iheir own tyranny occafions. 

3. One other realbn wh)'- the fervants of God are ac- 
cufcd as troublefome, is, becaufe they are, in many iii- 
flances, obliged, to bear tefiimony againit the fms of 
others, and openly to reprove them. Reproof is plainly, 
of all others, the greatell ofFence and provocation of the 
proud, and draws down their heavieif refentment : and 
yet it is often unavoidable. There are fome Cufes in which 
every Chriftian without exception, mud feel the con- 
llraint of this divine law. ''Thou flialt in any wife re- 
*' buke thy neighbor, and not fuffer fui upon him."^— 
Some fins are {q flagrant in their nature that, even to wit- 
nefs them with filence, would imply fome participation of 
the guilt. In fuch cafes it is the glory of the poorefl and 
meanell fervant of God, to relent the diflionor that is done 
to his name, and reprove the moll: exalted fmner. 

But this duty, and the odium arifmg from it, falls moft 
frequently to the fliare of the prophets and minillers of 
God, who have received a commiiTion to fpeak in his name 
and to plead his caufe. The faithful difcharge of their 
duty, includes in it plainnefs and boUlnefs in reproving tin 
of every kind. They mull aOfert and maintain the truth, 
and point out the errors oppofite to it, with all their guilty 
fruits, and all their dreadful confequences. How olTenfive 
this to human pride? It mull certainly either convince or 
provoke, reform or inflame. When righteous, Lot fays, 
in the mildell terms, to the luflful Sodomites, " I pray 
*' you brethren, do not fo wickedly," how fierce is the 
anfwer ? " And they laid, fland back. And they faid 
^' again. This one fellow came in to fojourn, and he will 
*' needs be a judge. "/^ 

How many martyrs to truth have there been fince die 
world began? without mentioning thofe in the Old TeRa- 
ment, you fee John the Baptill lofb his life by reproving 
the inceftuous adultery of Herod and Herodias. Our 
bleifed Saviour gives the following account of the hatred 
ofthewoild to him, and the contrary reception it gave to 

c Lev. xix. 17. b Gen. xix. 9. 



against Good Men accounted for. 43 f 

his temporifing brethren, The world cannot hate you ;• 

** but me it hatelh, becaufe I teftify of it, that the works 

"thereof are evil." By confulting the hiftory of the gof- 

pel you will find, that what gave rife to the confpiracy of 

the Scribes and Pharifees againfl him, was his dragging 

off the mafic under which they lay concealed, and difco- 

vering the errors of their doftrine, and the licent oj ;; fs 

of their pra^lice. When they '' perceived that he fpake 

" againfl: them, — they took counfel againll him to put him 

*' to death ;" and accompliilied it fo foon as they conld do 

it with fafety. But there cannot be a better example, or 

indeed, a more lively and well drawn pidlure of the effeft 

of plain and juil reproof, than in the cafe of Stephen, 

when pleading his caufe before the Jewifa rulers. " Ye 

*' ftiff-necked, and uncircumcifed in heart and ears, ye do 

" always reiifl: the Holy Ghofl: : as your fathers did, fo do 

" ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers per- 

"lecuted ? And they have flain them which fliewed be- 

" fore of the coming of the juft One ; of whom you have 

" been now the betrayers and murderers. — When they 

*' heard thefe things, they were cut to the heart, and they 

*' gnalhed on him with their teeth. "^ It is plainly for this 

reafon that the apollles, in their prayers for afiiftance, do 

almofl: conflantly afe, that they may be endued with a pro- 

per degree of boldnefs and refolution, •' And now. Lord, 

" behold their threatnings ; and grant unto thy fervants 

*' that with all boldnefs they may fpeak thy word."^ Ala- 

ny other prayers are to be found in the apodolic writings 

which run in the fame Pirain.c 

It is very natural for every one at this di fiance, to Ima- 
jijine, that he could have been in no danger of making 
fuch an obllinate refillance to the truth, or perfecuting, 
with fuch implacable enmity, thofe who efpoufed it. But, 
my brethren, all worldly men, in every age, have flill the 
fame abhorrence of the faithful fervants of God ; the fame 
iinpatience of reproof, when it (ouches themfelves. Our 
Saviour draws their character with great beauty, in f[:)eak- 

« Ac\s \ii. 5 1, ;>2, 54. b \&.% \\. 29. c- See Eph. vii. 13, 
2 ThefT. iii. 2. 



432 7he Charge of Sedition and Faction 

ing to the Pharlfees ; "Wo unto you Scribes and Pljail- 
*'rees, hypocrites, becaufe ye build the tombs of thepro- 
*' phets, and garnifli the fepulchres of the righteous ; and 
*' id.y. If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would 
*' not have been partakers with them in the blood of the 
** prophets. Wherefore ye be witnefics unto yourfelves, 
*' that ye are the children of them which kilkd the pro- 
" phets.'Vi It is very delicately hinted in this lall verfe, 
that they were of the fame nature, that they grew, as it 
xvere, upon the fame flock, and therefore it might be ex- 
peded that they would bring forth the fame fruit. I cannot 
but here mention a remark of a very eminent writer up- 
on this pafiage ; '^ That all nations partake much of this 
*' difpofition cf the Jews, to honor the dead faints, and 
perfecute the living.'"/) 

I have taken notice above, that in every period of the 
church, the moll faithful of the Icrvants and minifters of 
God, have, in hc>, been counted troublefome by corrupt 
and v.'orklly men. The fame padages of hiftory conllant- 
\'j Ihew, that this has arifen chiefly from their attempts to 
ilem the tide of prevailing vice; from their boldnefs and 
faithfulnefs in reproving fafhionable crimes. In the 
twelfth century, Arnulphus, a devout man, and excellent 
preacher, fpeaks thus to the clergy : " I know that yoif 
'^ ieek my life, ?.;id will fhortly kill me : But why ? I 
"Ipeak the truth to you, I reprehend your pride and 
"haughtinefs, avarice and luxury : therefore 1 pleafeyou 
*' not.'V And in the fourteenth century, an ancient wri- 
ter fpeaks of the court of Rome in the following terms : 
""lor what can you conceive will happen where virtue 
*' was long ago extindt and buried ? There fui'cly truth 
"is the highell crime, and of itfelf fufficient to procure 
"the hatred of many. For how can we expect but that 
**• ihould happen, where a true w'ord cannot be fpoken 
" without a great reproach, where the worll of men are 
"proniolcd, — where fimplicity is elleemed madnefs, — 
*' where good men are rendered ridiculous, infomuch that 

cMuth x?;iii. 29,30, 31. /' Tillolfon. 

t Whitby's App. lo his book on IIoft-AvorHiip. 



against Good Men accounted/or* 433 

« now fcarce any of them doth ap])ear but to be laughed 
" at. Thefe few things truth itfelf hath dared to fpeak, 
" whence you may gather what you are to think of many 
" others, which fear doth force me to conceal."^ It is 
unnecelfary to cite many paifages to this purpofe ; I fliall 
therefore conclude this head with the following juft re- 
flexion of the pious, diligent, and catholic Mr. Baxter ; 
" I fee there is no help for it, but we muft offend wicked 
" men. It is impoffible to avoid it, but either by our 
" filence or their patience. Silent we cannot be, be- 
*' caufe the word of God commands us to fpeak ; and 
" patient they cannot be, becaufe fm has the dominion in 
** their hearts." 

We now proceed, in the lafl place, to make fome prac- 
tical improvement of what has been faid. And, 

In the firft place, You may learn from what has been 
faid upon this fubje(St, the juft and proper anfwer to an 
objeQlon againlt the gofpel, much infilled on by its ene- 
mies, viz. That it has introduced perfecution for con- 
fcience fake, with which the world was in a great meafure 
unacquainted before. There are few fubjeds, on which 
infidels enlarge with greater pleafure, than the cruel ha- 
tred and animofity that has prevailed ; the bloody wars' 
that have been carried on ; nay, the favage and inhuman 
maffacres that have been perpetrated on a religious ac- 
count, fince the publication of the gofpel. I think this 
obje6lion is but feldom anfwered as it might be. It is 
ufually indeed, and juftly obferved, that v/hatever may 
have been done by thofe profefTmg the gofpel, there is no 
countenance given in it to fuch a fpirit and practice. But 
the objedion is not wholly removed, while infidels are 
allowed ftill to contend, as if it ferved their own caufe, 
that perfecution has been its confiant attendant and infe- 
parable effeft. We ought therefore, towreft this argument 
out of their hands, and firft to produce this fadl as an ac- 
compliiliment of our Saviour's predlclion ; " Think not 
'' that I am come to fend peace on earth : I came not to 

Vol. II. 3 I 

a Petrarch's Ep* 



434 ^^^ Charge of Sedition and Factioit 

" fend peace, but a fword. For I am come to fet a man 
" at variance againfl: his father, and the daughter againft 
*' her mother, and the daughter-in-law againft her mother- 
** in-law. And a man's foes fliall be they of his own 
*' houfliold."^? 

Having gone thus far, we have reafon to contend that 
the difciples of ChriR have always fuffered, and never in- 
Hided the injury, though they have often been obliged to 
bear the blame. The multitude of heathen religions, 
though not always, yet did generally agree together : and 
well they might, for they were all from the fame author. 
None of them, however, could agree with the gofpel : for 
this plain reafon, that " no lie is of the truth." But from 
what quarter did the violence proceed ? Did not the 
dreadful perfecutions againfl the Chrillians, in the three 
iirfl: centuries, proceed from the heathens ? Did the 
Chriflians commit any other crime againfl them, than 
pointing out the fin and danger of their idolatrous wor- 
iliip, and immoral pradVices ? Was not this alone fufH- 
eient to raifeacry againit them, as turning the world up- 
fide down ? And in all the fubfequent perfecutions among 
profeffmg Chrillians, was it any thing elfe than the proud, 
violent, and worldly fpirit of thofe who made a gain of 
godlinefs, opprelTmg the few real believers of every deno- 
mination ? There is an antiehrillian fpirit in every 
church, that fhews itfelf in perfecution, in a greater or 
ielTer degree. But there can be nothing more unjufl, than 
to attribute the perfecution of Chrift's difciples by his ene- 
mies and theirs, to the fpirit of his religion. 

Is it then boldly affirmed by fome, that the Chriflian is 
the only religion in the world that leads to perfecution ? 
I anfwer, onthe contrary. It is the only religion that has 
lufFered perfecution from all its numerous enemies : and 
at the fame time, it is the only religion in the M'orld that 
requires, and points out the obligation, of mutual forbear- 
ance, and makes the jull and proper divifion between the 
things that are CcclUr's, and the things that are God's. 
That it is often blamed as perfecuting others, is a prcoi 

* Altttth. X. 34, 35, 3(>, 



against Good Men accounted for * 435 

and illuftration of this truth. For all Is of a piece, and the 
falfe accufation arifes from the iburce which I have opened 
up above, and confirmed by examples produced from hif- 
tory. To thefe I iliall now only add one obfervation, 
which comes in with peculiar propriety here ; That innu- 
merable inftances may be given, in which thofe very per- 
Ibns who were ready to lift the fecular arm againft good 
men, have loudly complained of the exerclfe of difcipline, 
and the cenfures of the church upon their crimes. Thefe 
they often flyle perfecution, and always affirm to flow 
from a perfecuting fpirit. But as they are often neceflary, 
fo even when they are unjuflly applied, it is plain from 
their very nature, that if they be groundlefs, they mufl be 
perfectly harmlefs. 

Thus the flate of the world is fo far from being an ob- 
je£lion againft, that it is a proof of the truth of the gofpel. 
True Chrillians have fuffered from every quarter ; froni 
within and from without ; from open enemies and from 
falfe brethren. They have been firft perfecuted, and then 
ilandered as perfecuting others ; nay, obliged to bear the 
odium of that very cppreffion under which they groaned. 
Of all this they are fairly fore-v/arned by their Saviour, 
who fays, " Behold, I fend you forth as fheep in the midft: 
" of wolves." They are expofed to injurious treatment 
from many, and may expe6l to fuffer without caufe. None 
however make fo cruel a havoc, as thofe wolves who put 
on Ibeep's clothing ; and yet, of all their cruelty, the poor 
fufFering flieep muft bear the blame. 

2. From what hath been faid, you may fee the guilt 
and danger of thofe who faliely accufe the children of God. 
Perhaps you may be read}'' wholly to refufe the charge, 
and to fay. Where is the neceffity, where is the propriety 
of this at prefent ? Have we not all civil and religious li- 
berty ? and are not religion and its minifters in efteem 
and repute ? I anfwer, It is never unneceiTary. The fault 
I complain of is no part of the peculiar degeneracy of this? 
age. It is not confined to any one age, country, or pro- 
feffion, but is common to them all : and we would but 
deceive ourfelves, fliould we fondly fancy we are exempt- 
ed from it. Nay, our prefent ilate as a church and ng,- 



43^ ^ke Charge of Sedition and Faction 

tion, feems to render ftich a warning peculiarly fcafon- 
able. We have long enjoyed outward peace. In every 
other country this has introduced a worldly fpirit, ambi- 
tion, luxury, and floth. And is there no velKige of thefe 
chara6ters among us now ? Who will pretend it ? Are 
there not fome who cannot endure fuch ilridlnefs as is 
inconfiflent with conformity to the gay and tafiiionable 
world? Do not all I'uch incline to charge every proiefTion 
of piety with hypocrify ? Do they not confider every 
faithful reprover, as an enemy to their peace ? Do they 
not heat- with fecret pkafure, and fpread with apparent 
triumph, every report, to the prejudice of fuch troublcrs 
of Ifrael ? 

This then is the character ; and as many of you as 
confcience charges with the guilt, may fee your clanger. 
You may fee vvhofe caufe you plead, and whofe reward 
you fhall ihare. A\'hat inward enmity do you dii'cover 
againd the fpirit and power of true religion ? You are of 
the number of thofe who '•'• Hate the light, and will not 
*' come to the light, left your deeds lliould be reproved." 
You are of the number of thofe who fay " to the feers, fee 
" not, and to the prophets, prophefynot unto us right 
*' things, fpeak unto us fmooth things, and prophefy de- 
" ceit." You will not " endure found doclrine," but love 
and follow only that which will exercife and amufe your 
imagination and fancy, footh and gratify your pride and 
vanity, or make and keep you at peace with yowrfclves. 
You are alleep in fecurity, and will avoid every thing 
that may tend to diflurb or interrupt your dangerous re- 
pof6. And how hurtful is your condu(^t to others ? You 
blait the charaiSlers and lelfen the ufefulnefs of the minif- 
ters of Chrift. You bring an evil report upon the truth, 
by rendering them odious or contemptible who bear it, 
— And if we, my brethren, who are minillers of thegof- 
pel, imitate this example in any meafure, if we difcover 
a fulpicion and jealoufy, or an averfion and hatred, at all 
who are more diligent than ourfeh^es, v.'hat difhonor niult 
fall upon cur profelfion, what a hindrance is it to the edi- 
ficaiion of others, and what guilt do we bring upon our 
own fouls. 



against Good Men accounted for, 437 

3. If this has been the conflant lot of all the fervants 
of God, to be acciifed as feditious and troublefome, let 
every cautious perfon bev/are of being mifled by the per- 
fecuting cry. I aflc any man who is converfunt in the 
world, if he hath not, in many inftances, been infenfibly 
taught to form a hateful idea, or to entertain a cLefpicable 
opinion of many miniflers, without the leaft perfonal 
knowledge, the leafl; fatisfying evidence or proof. What 
IS the reafon ? Why, he hath been told, that they are 
proud, hypocritical, factious, cenforious, troublefome men. 
Well, the thing is pofuble, no doubt. Rut, in the mean 
time, it is far from being certain ; and this fort of charac- 
ter induftrioufly propagated, is no.evidence of it at all, or 
rather is a prefunsption of the contrary. You fee, from 
the inPtances produced above, that this is a reproach per- 
petually thrown upon the mofl: upright and faithful of the 
fervants of God; that it may very naturally arife from their 
fidelity itfelf ; and that it cannot be avoided by thofe who 
refiil the corrupt meafures, who reprove the public vices, 
0r who Ihame the criminal lazinefs, and negligence of 
others. An ignorant, vicious, u'orthlefs minifter, is en- 
vied by no body. He is therefore quite fafe from all the 
poifoned arrov/s which fly from that quarter. He is ra- 
ther a foil to many, to fet off and illuflrate their own com- 
parative excellence. He is therefore often pardoned, pi- 
tied, and protected. Whereas a faithful minifter, who 
openly dares to bear witnefs again ft the apoftacy of others, 
is traduced and ftandered, loaded with imaginary crimes, 
and oiien falls a martyr to the finking caufe of truth and 
righteoufnefs. 

4. Since the world is fo prone to receive the accufation 
of faction againft the children of God, let them be care- 
ful to give no real ground for it. Unjuft calumny has 
fometimesthe contrary effect. When men find, that it is 
impoffible to pleai'e a capricious world, or Vv'holiy toelcape 
flander, they are apt to give up all folicitude upon that 
head, and tal^e no farther pains to avoid fufpc61ed appear- 
ances. This I take to be, precifely, what the Scripture 
calls being " overcome of evil." But how much better is 
it "IP overcome evil with good?" Let us, as often as poffi- 



438 7'/6<? Charge of Sedition a?id Faction 

ble, confute the accufation by an unblanieable carriage ; 
and when we mufl fufler, let us be careful that we fufier, 
not as evil doers, but for well doing. For this purpole I 
would humbly offer to miniflers the two following direc- 
tions, which I elleem of great moment. 

(i.) Let all our zeal for the glory of God be conducted 
not only with (leadinefs, but with meeknefs. Let us ever 
remember, that the wrath of man worketh not the righte- 
oufnefs of God. Let our language be always llridlly 
guarded, and free from expreflions of rage and fury. If 
we are faithful to our duty, it will-fuiliciently provoke fin- 
ners, we need not add to it by any mixture of human paf- 
jion. What noble and eflc'5tual principles are we furnifh- 
ed with in Scripture, for a,voiding every dangerous ex- 
treme? Love to God, and love to man, make u]) the fum 
of praiSlical religion. Thefe are the immediate fruits of 
faith, and all the truths of the gofpel tend to flrengthen 
and improve them* And as love to God produces indig- 
nation againfl; fm, refolution and boldnefs in oppofmg it ; 
fo, love to man will naturally produce the deepell com- 
pafiion for the miferable Hate of every enemy of God, and 
prevent firminefs from degenerating into violence. 

(2.) The other direclion I would offer upon this fub-. 
je£l is, that miniflers take care to avoid ofTicioufly inter- 
meddling in civil matters. A minifter Ihould be feparat- 
cd and fet apart for his own work ; he (liould be confe^ 
crated to his office. It is little glory to him to be eminent- 
ly fKiiled in any other fcience, except fuch as may be 
handmaids to theology, and are by him habitually turned 
into a divine channel. Minifters giving themfelves to 
worldly employmer.ts, have been commonly of bad fame ; 
and where there is a fuflicient provifion made for their 
maintenance, feems to be an unjull alienation of dieir time 
and talents. But it is ftill more finful and dangerous, 
for them todefire or claim the direction of fuch matters as 
fall within t'le province of the civil magillrate. "When 
our bleifed Saviour lays, " My kingdom is not of tiiis 
" world," he plainly intimates to his difciples that they 
have no title to intermeddle wiUi fiate aliairs. Nay, he 
exprefsly warns them againft a lordly and arbitrary do- 



egainst Good Men acccninted foi\ 439 

minion, even in their own proper fphere. "The kings 
" of the Gentiles exercife lordfliip over them ; and they 
" that exercife authority upon them are called benefadWs. 
" But ye Ihall not be fo: but he that is greateft among you 
" let him be as the younger ; and he that is chief, as he 
" that doth ferve."f^ 1 cannot help mentioning here, that 
this is one of the things, for which our worthy ancefiors 
of the ciiurch of Scotland (now defpifed by many) deferve 
the higheft commendation. It was an invariable princi- 
ple with them, to be againft the civil power and places of 
kirknien. And furely, if minifters confine themfelves en- 
tirely to their own proper duty, they v/ill be muchlefs lia- 
ble to exception than otherwife. They may then, war- 
fantably ufe the greatell fidelity in reproving, and the 
greatefl ftriftnefs in difcipline ; and though the wicked 
flander and oppofe them, the good will defend them, and 
God will fupport them. 

5. In the lafi: place, Since the chargfe of fadlion and fe- 
dition has been always brought againft faithful minifters, 
let us learn to bear it v/ith patience, and never dilTemble 
the truth, or depart, in any meafure, from our duty, in 
order to avoid it. A perfon of a generous mind feels a 
wound in his reputation more deeply, than almoft any 
other injury. We are ftill apt fondly to flatter ourfelves, 
that as religion is truly amiable in itfelf, and ought to 
make no enemies, that therefore we fliall have none. — 
Some are very apt to omit, or flightly to perform, feveral 
parts of their duty, through that " fear of man that bring- 
" eth a fnare." They are unwilling to forego the hope, 
that by certain prudent compliances they will conciliate 
and preferve the favor of every man and every party. 
But the expedation is wholly vain. The experience of 
many ages hath proved it fo. Let us therefore bear with 
patience the falfe ace u fat ion. It hath been the lot of the 
beft and worthieft men in every age. It was the lot of our 
blefled mafter, and ftiall we refufe to bear his crofs ? Is it 
not " enough for the difciple that he be as his mafter, and 
*' the fervant that he be as his Lord ?" The triumph of 

« I.uke xxii. 25, 26. 



440 The Charge of Sedition and Faction^ &c. 

finners is but very fliort. In a little time all earthly rek- 
lions fliall be dirfolved. Then high and low, magiftrates 
and fubjedts, miniilers and people, fliall Hand before the- 
judgiiient-feat ot'Chrift. He fliall "render to every one 
" according to his deeds." There the great and noble 
fliall find no partial favour ; there the poor and mean fhall 
not efcape oblervation ; and there the lying Handerer fhall 
be put to eternal filence. He fhall openly acknowledge 
every faithful fervant, and " bring forth his righteoufnefs 
*' as the light, and his judgment as the noon day." 



C 441 ] 



THE 



CHARGE 



S I R, 

AS you are now ordained a minifler of Chrifl, and 
have received the charge of this congregation, I 
hope you will bear with me a little, while I offer you a 
few advices as to the difcharge of your important truft. 
And I cannot help beginning by congratulating you on 
the unanimous call you have received from this people. 
However dtTpifed by fonie, I count it a mod happy cir- 
cumilance both for you and them. It introduces you 
with great advantage. It gives you a fair and impartial 
hearing ; and, if you do not preferve their efteem and 
love, it will probably be^ in a great meafure, owing to 
yourfelf. 

I mud iirll of all befeech you, in the mod earned man- 
ner, to be dr!<^t and frequent, in enquiring into the truth 
and reality of religion in your own foul. Perfonal reli- 
gion is the foundation of all relative duties. They cart 
fcarcely be performed in any tolerable meafure Vv^ithout it. 
It is equally necefl^iry to your ufefulnefs, and to your 
comfort. It is a difficult thing, and it is a dreadful thing, 
to preach an unknown Saviour. Examine, thereforcj 
whether you are '' born again ;" whether you have " paff- 
ed from death to life ;" whether you are united to Chrid 
by faith ; whether you know by experience, the difference 
between a date of nature and a date of grace, or not. 
IVhile I {peak this, I afliire you, I do not mean it, and I 
hop.2 none v»'ill interpret it, as any refledlion againd, or 
implying any fufpicion of you, who have given me no 
caufe. 1 fpeak it from a deep impreffion of its impor- 
tance to us all. How miferable a cafe is it, to have it as 
our budnefs to bring others to the kingdom of heaven, and 

Vol. II. 3 K 



442 The Charge. 

be ouiTelves at lafl thrud; out. A minifler is as much lia- 
ble to felf-deceit as any other, and in fome refpei^s more 
fo. We are in danger of thinking ourfelves too eafily 
lafe, by comparing that outward regularity, to which our 
office itfelf, even from fecular motives, obliges us, with 
the licentious extravagance of profane finners. We may 
alfo miftake our frequent thinking and fpeaking of the 
" things of God," in the way of our calling, for an evi- 
dence of true religion in ourfelves. Nay, we are in dan- 
ger of miftaking thofe gifts, with which God furnifliedi us 
for the benefit of his own people, for the fruits of the Spi- 
rit, and gracious difpofitions in our own hearts. Main- 
tain, therefore, a holy jealoufy over yourfelf. Give di- 
*' ligence to make your calling and eIe<3:ion fure." And, 
ifyoufave your own foul, you will probably carry many 
others with you to a better world ; and be able to fay, af- 
ter the example of Chrift, " Behold I, and the children 
*' whom God hath given me." 

As to the duties of your office, fee that you preach the 
pure and uncorrupted doflrine of Chrifl. Preach Chrifl 
crucified, who is "the way, and the truth, and the life;" 
and without whom " no man can go unto the Father." 
You will never be able to make men truly good, till you 
convince them of their lofl flate by nature ; and thence 
make ihcm fee the neceffity of juflification by the free 
grace of God, through the imputed righteoufnefs of ChriR. 
If you would know what place Chrifl: ought to hold in your 
preaching and fcheme of doftrine, obferve what room he 
iill-G in the oracles of truth. To the crofs of Chrifl give all 
the prophets witnefs. The crofs of Chrift is the fum and 
fubitance of the New Teflament. The crofs of Chrifl is 
the Chrifiiian's hope. The crofs of Chrill is the Chrif- 
tian's glory. You fee, by a ferious perufal of the New 
Teflament, that the lacred writers largely illullrate the 
feveral parts of his character and office, and feem with 
pleafure to embrace every opportunity of fpeaking to his 
praife. They Ihow how much we are to depend upon hint 
for flrength in the difcharge of our duty ; and enforce all 
their exhortations by motives drawn from what he hath 
done, and is Iliii doing, for his church and people. You 



The Charge. 443 

will foon find from experience, that no cold reafonlngs on 
the nature and beauty of virtue, can have fuch influence 
in mortifying corrupt afFe6tions, as a believing view of a 
pierced Saviour. For this very reafon many deteft the 
doctrine of the crofs. It gives a mortal blow to every 
darling lull. It gives fuch a view of the holinefs and juf- 
tice of God, as is intolerable to all thofe who cannot think 
of breaking their attachment to fin and vanity. 

There is one particular reafon why I have mentioned 
this at prefent, and infifled on it at fome length. It is or- 
dinary to meet with ferious perfons who complain much, 
that from many pulpits they hear little or nothing of the 
doctrine of the grace of God ; that the grand and leading 
truths of the gofpel are either flatly contradided, or kept 
entirely out of view, and fomething elfe fubftituted in their 
place. I am far from faying that this is indeed the cafe. 
On the contrary, I tremble to think that it fhould be but 
barely polTible ; for all thefe do61:rine are clearly contain- 
ed in the Confeflion of Faith, which every minifter in 
Scotland has fubfcribed. If, therefore, there be any one 
among us, who dotK not preach the dodlrine of original 
fin, of Chrifl's imputed righteoufnefs, juflification by free 
grace, the neceflity of regeneration, and the operations of 
the Spirit, he is guilty of perjury of the worft kind, for 
which I know no excufe. Such a perfon is not only 
chargeable with departing from the faith, but with an abfo- 
lute proftitution of confcience, and a whole life of hypo- 
crify and deceit. I am indeed entirely at a lofs how to 
account for this apprehenfion in the people, of a difference 
in doftrine ; but as there certainly is fuch an apprehen- 
fion, I think I cannot difcharge my duty on this occafion, 
without exhorting you to be clear and explicit upon thefe 
heads. The truth is, they are of fo general confequence, 
and have fo neceflary a connexion with every other part 
of religion, that, be the fubjeft what it will, where they 
are firmly believed, 1 fhould imagine the manner of think- 
ing and fpeaking would be fuch, as to leave no jealoufy of 
an intended omiffion. 

This leads me to exhort you, to preach ]"7lainly, or in a 
way that may b€ level to the capacities of the hearers. 



444 ^^ Charge, 

both as to fenliment and expreflion. God forbid, that I 
fliould defire you to rufli into a pulpit without prepara- 
tion, to preach in a diforderly method, or in a mean, flo- 
venly or indecent ftyle. All pains fhould be taken to 
feek out fit and " acceptable words." Bat there cannot 
be a greater abfurdity in fpeaking to a multitude of com- 
mon people, than to difcourfe in fuch a UilT and abllracl 
way, as it is plainly impoffible for them to comprehend. 
Nor is it any lefs abfurdity to drefs up an harrangue with 
txceflive elegance, and a vain, ornamented fopptiry of 
Ityle. Some difcourfes may very well be likened to paint- 
ed windows, which, with fine colours upon themlelves, 
keep out the light, and make the houfe comfonlefs and 
dark. Such cpndu(5l is ordinarily followed by thofe, who 
would willingly recommend themfclves to perfons of bet- 
ter tafte ; but it muil evidently render themcontemptible 
to every perfon of found judgment. However, it is much 
worfe than abfurd ; for it is very wicked, when the ever- 
lafting falvation of finners is at flake, to fpeak in fuch a 
manner as they cannot underlland, or fuch as tends only 
to amufe their fancy, and never can reach their hearts. ]f 
we would know what is a proper and jull manner of 
flyle and compofition in preaching, let us cpnfider how 
any man would fpeak, if he was on trial for his own life. 
Would he not fpeak with great plainnefs, earneftncfs and 
force ? And is not the falvation of fouls of infinitely more 
moment tnan any man's life ? And fliould it not, if we 
believe the Scriptures, be more regarded by every faith- 
ful minifter ? 

You mnfl: alio take care to preach experimentally and 
particularly. You will foon find that this is the only 
profitable way of pvcdching, and that, unlefs you apply 
general truths to the fevcral claffes and characters in your 
audience, they will make but a lorry improvement of the 
bcfl inftru(Slion. The ignorant cannot, and the wifer will 
not apply them to themfelves. Befides, the general way 
is not only ufelefs but pernipious and hurtful. Suppole 
• I fhould make an encomium on the wife, ju(l and gra- 
pious government of God over his rational creation, and 
pbferve what reafon all have to rejoice under his adininil- 



The Chafge. 445 

{ration. Should I fay fo to this audience without diflinc- 
tion, it would be to many a dangerous and liupifying poi- 
fon. A juil and holy God, is a coniuniinuf fire to all tlie 
■workers of iniquity. Thofe who are ftiii in their fins, 
fhould tremble to think of the government of God. 

Befides public preaching, you muft be diligent among 
your people '' from houfe to houfs." You mull not ne- 
gleiit family inftruclion, and perfonal admonition or re- 
proof. This is, if not the molt ufeful part of a minifter's 
work, at lead abfoliitely neceffary to the fuccefs of his 
preaching. It is alio by far the mofl: laborious part, from 
which ilothful men are moft apt to excufe themfelves. A 
man may gratify his vanity by preaching, and public per- 
formances; or, the negledl being vifible, he may be com- 
pelled to regularity by fear of reproach or perfecution. 
But diligence in private, can fcarcely arife from any 
thing but a fenfe of duty, and oi the prefence and obfer- 
vation of God. 

The exercife of difcipline is another part of your du- 
ty which muit not be omitted, it is of very great mo- 
ment to the intereft of religion. It is a faying of one of 
the firft reformers, " They that defireto ba^iifli difcipline, 
" defire to banllh Chrifi: from his churcli." There muft 
needs be offences in the ChrilUan church. But when 
difcipline is neglected, then the offence becomes unfpeak- 
ably more dangerous, efpecially to the young and weak. 
It makes them think lightly of the charadler and privi- 
leges of a Chriftian, when there is either a promifcuous 
adiuiliion to church-communion, or when openly wicked 
perlbns are fulfered to continue without cenlure. When 
you couie to inftrucl young perfons, in order to renewing 
tkeir baptifmai engagements in the Lord's fupper; or, if 
pver you have occafion to inflrudl a heathen in order to bap- 
tifm, I can affure you, from experience, you will find the 
unhappy G?ttt\ of the low fiate of difcipline among us. It 
will immediately ilrike yourfelf, and thefe catechumens 
will foon t)etray, by their difcourfe, how hard it is to have 
ajuftfenfe of the faniSlity of the Chriflian charafter, while 
io many profane perfons are fufFered to be called Chrif- 
tj^ns \ and not a ftvv whofe condu6\ is very exceptionable, 



44^ ^^ Charge. 

continue to be admitted at dated times, to the feals of 
God's covenant. 

How inexcufeable are we in this negledl ? If the firfl 
ChriRians, without the help or lanilion of an eRablifh- 
ment, kept fo iXndi a difcipline, what might we do, who 
have the countenance and approbation of the civil power. 
In difcipline then, be Uriel, regular, and impartial. Efpe- 
cially be impartial. It is commonly want of impartiality, 
that makes us fail in ftridnefs. You will have many 
enemies to impartiality in difcipline. You will have the 
great and wealthy, many of whom, though they live in 
open defiance of the laws and ordinances of Chrift, yet 
will be much offended, and complain of it as a grievous 
injury, if by a judicial fentence you deprive them of his 
name. Nay, you will find in every congregation fome 
profelFing piety, who, though they are well pleafed with, 
and commend the ftridl exercife of difcipline in the cafe 
of others, yet when it comes to touch themfelves, or their 
own relations, will ufe many arts to evade it. But if 
you be firm and unbiaifed in fo good a caufe, it will have 
a fenfible effect. 

This leads me to exhort you in the whole of your 
work, public and private, to beware of the fin of man- 
pleafing. I do not fciy, beware of popularity : becaufe, 
in the fenfe to which common language hath confined 
that word, it is but one half of the fnare. Befides, in 
propriety of Ipeech, popularity fliould fignify only being 
accepted and beloved, which in itfelf is neither duty 
nor fin, but a bleifing. Man-pleafing fignifies, in Scrip- 
ture, having this as the end and motive of our actions, 
rather than being acceptable to God. You ouglit, in- 
deed, for edification, to avoid difpleafing any without 
necefiity. But as in this, fo in every other thing, you 
fliould have afar higher principle, than merely courting 
the favor either of great or fmall, good or bad. It is, 
doubtlefs, a mean and defpicable principle, to zdi only 
with a view of gaining the applaufe of the vulgar and 
ignorant. But 1 liave ©ften wondered, how Ibme fliould 
fo boldly and uncharitably lay this to the charge of their 
brethren, without confidering how eafy it is, with at leall, 



T/fe Charge, 44^ 

equal juftice, to prefume that they are under the hifiuenqfi 
of, and a£llng with a view to pleafe the great. I am 
fure, there is a much ftronger temptation to this than the 
former. And, if I am not miliaken, fawning and fervi- 
lity hath been the road, in which ambitious and corrupt 
churchmen have travelled to preferment in every age. 
The truth is, they are equally detellable in the fight of God. 
But the laft is much more deftruftive to the intereft of 
religion than the firll. The favor of the multitude can 
fcarcely be obtained, without either the truth or the ap- 
pearance of piety ; but the favor of the great is often ob- 
tained by filence, and fuffering them in their crimes, be- 
ing affidant in their pleafures, or fubfervient to their poli- 
tical defigns. 

To deliver you, Sir, from both, remember tlie condi- 
tion on which you hold your office. " Son of man, I 
" have made thee a watchman to the houfe of Ifrael : there--, 
*' fore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning 
" from me. When I fay unto the wicked. Thou Ihalt 
" furely die ; and thou giveft him not warning, nor 
" fpeakeft to warn the wicked from his wicked way to fave 
'"'• his life : the fame wicked man fliall die in his iniquity, 
" but his blood will I require at thine hand. "<^ forget 
then the foolifli accufations of popularity or vanity ; and 
confider, that your people are daily carried to their graves, 
and you muft give an account of every foul that periilies 
through your negleft. 

To conclude, be much in earnefl. prayer to God, that 
he would fit you for your work, and crown your labours 
with fuccefs. Prayer is abfolutely necelTary to the ftedfaft- 
nefs and growth of every believer, and efpecially to a mi- 
nifter. If you believe the gofpel, you will believe that 
" every good gift cometh from above ; that God only can 
make you an able and ufeful pallor ; and this will make 
you importunate with him for a plentiful meafure of the 
Holy Spirit to fic-you for his fervice. And I defire to 
join in praying, that God, for Chrill's fake, would make 
you an '' able minifler of the New Tellament," — and 
help you to preach the gofpel, not with the wifdom of 
" words," — but v/ith " the Holy Gholl fent down from 
" heaven.'* 

ft Ezek. ill. 1", 18. 



C 448 J 
EXHORTATION 



TO THE 



People. 



My Brethrejj, 

YOU have heard the charge given to your mlnifler. 
Are there then, lb many duties incumbent on him 
by his (landing in the relation of a pailor to you ? is not the 
delation mutual ? And are there not feveral correfpon- 
cicnt duties incumbent on you as his people ? I beg your 
patience, while I put you in mind of a few of the moil im- 
portant and neceffary. 

In the firft place, it is evidently your duty diligently 
to attend upon his miniflry. It is plainly impoflible that 
you can profit by him, if you do not hear him. I am for- 
ry that there are many in thefe days, who pour contempt 
upon the ordinances of Chrill's iriftitution. But in par- 
ticular, there hath been, of late, a great and remarkable 
defertion of public worfliip by thofe of higher rank. There 
is a happy opportunity in this cafe to put all fuch among 
you in mind, that having fubfcribed a call to their minif- 
ter, they ftand bound by content to attend upon him. Is 
it not furprifing to think, that any ftiould forget the terms 
in which that invitation runs. You intrcat him '' to take 
*' the charge of your fouls, and prowiife him all due obe- 
" dience and fubmiflion in the Lord." Can a man honell- 
ly fubfcribe this, who feldom comes within the walls of 
any church ? One would be counted infamous in the 
world, who fhould aiSl in the f;ice of a figned obligation, 
in any other matter, or who even ihould falfify a folemn 



fhe Exhortation, 449 

promifc. Ancii M it lefs criminal, becaufe it relates to 
religion and the fervice of God ? It is indeed feldom re- 
lented or puniflied by men, becaufe the offence is not 
immediately againll them, but it remains to be punilhed 
by that righteous God, " To whom vengeance belongs,-— 
" and who will not be mocked.'* 

In the next place, my brethren, let me intfeat you to 
be tender of the charatler of your minifter, and of mini- 
fters in general. As their office makes the guilt of theif 
fins great, and as a (tain on theif charader is mod hurt- 
ful to religion, on both accounts, you ought not rallily to 
receive an accufation againft them. I do not mean to afk 
indulgence to the unworthy, I give them Up freely to that 
reproach and contempt which they jullly deferve. But 
let it fall upon the perlbn, and not upon the office. Do 
not transfer the faults of particulars to the whole order. It 
is eafy to obferve the different reception which the faults or 
mifcarriages of minifters meet with, from perfons differ- 
ently difpofed. The good are afTcded with grief and con- 
cern for the ofTence, or filled with zeal and indignation 
again (1 the iinner. But loofe and carelefs perfons difpa- 
rage the profeffion, and blefs themfelves in their own uni- 
formity and confiftency of charafter* You may fpare 
your refledlions, " That minilters are but men, minif^ers 
»' are but like other men,'* and the like, when, I alfure 
you, we deny it not. We have all the fame great interell 
at Hake. We often fpeak the more earneftly to you, lefl^ 
while we preach the gofpel to others. We ourfelves fliould 
be call- away s ; and many times defcribe the workings of 
a deceitful, wandering, ilothful, worldly mind, by taking 
the copy from our own. 

It falls very properly in my way on this occafion, to 
take notice of a reproach thrown upon miniflers, by the 
mift.ake or perverfion of two of the quellions ufually put 
at an ordination, and which you have jufl heard put to 
your miniller. They are fuppofed by many to be fuch as 
no man can anfwer with truth, and fo quite improper to 
be put at all. The firll of them is in the following terms, 
*' Are not zeal for the honor of God, love to Jefus Chrilt, 
*' and ddfire orHuing your fouls, your great motives, and 
Vol. \h 3 L 



45© Tke Exhortation. 

"chief Inducements, to enter into the funflion of the ho- 
" ly miniftry, and not worldly defigns and interefts.*' 
This is malicioufly interpreted to fuppofe, that a miniller 
in accepting of a fixed charge, hath no view or intention, 
primary or fecondary, of being provided of a mainte- 
nance. This would be both unnatural and unreafonable. 
*' They that ferve at the altar, muft live by the altar.** 
The plain meaning is, That the great motives of a mi- 
nifter, in confecrating himfelf to this employment, and 
accepting the particular ftation afligned him, ought to be 
the honor of God, and interefl. of religion, as expreffed 
above. And furely, that this fhould be the cafe, hath 
nothing in it incredible in our country, the provifion for 
the miniflry not being fo large, but a man of tolerable 
abilities hath a much greater hazard of rifing to wealth 
and dignity in many other employments. But alas ! how 
ignorant are they who cavil at this queflion ? Do they 
not know that every Chrillian is bound habitually and fu- 
premely to regard the glory of God in all his actions ? 
This is not peculiar to miniflers, except fo far as they 
ought to be exemplary in every thing. Wo to every man 
in this affembly, be his employment what it will, if he 
does not habitually point his whole a6lions to the glory of 
God. " Ye are not your own ; ye are bought with a price ; 
" therefore glorify God with your bodies, and your fpirits, 
" which are God's. "^ 

The other qucllion is this, " Have you ufed any undue 
*' methods by yourfelf or others, in procuring this call ?'* 
It is iiiipodible to find fault with thisquellion, but by leav- 
ing out the word, undue. And indeed, it is fo far from 
being wrong, that there would be no harm if it were more 
particularly explained. It was probably intended to dif- 
courage all briguing and felicitation, other than a man's 
real charader does for itfelf, or the free unbiaffed judgment 
of others, inclines them to do in his behalf. 1 apprehend 
it does reach a reproof to ail thofe, who either promote 
or hinder fettlements fron\ political coimexions, or in 
expedation of ttniporal favors and to thofe who, by pro- 
fiiifes or threatnings, endeavour to influence their inferiors 

u 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. 



7he Exhortation. 451 

in fuch a caufe. In the mean time, I dare fay it will be 
allowed, that any thing of this kind done by a minifler 
himfelf, or at his diredlion, in his own favor, would be very 
wrong : and, bleflcd be God, it is at prefent among us con- 
fidered as highly indecent and criminal. 

I muft alio put you in mind of the great duty of family 
inftru6tion and gorvernment. Heads of families mufl pre- 
pare their children and fervants for receiving benefit by 
public inftrudlion, and endeavor by repetition to fix it in 
their minds. It is our duty to fpeak plainly, no doubt ; 
but it is impoflible, preferving the dignity of the pulpit, to 
fpeak in fuch a manner as to be underflood by thofe who 
have had no previous inftruclion in a familiar way. It is 
like calling feed upon an unopened, unprepared foil^ 
which takes no root, and brings forth no fruit. Is it not 
hard, that, when many are fo ready to find fault with 
every negledl of minillers, and fometimes expect more 
work from one, than ten can perform, they ihould take fo 
little pains in their families, thefe fmaller diflridls, which 
are committed to their own charge. 

To conclude all. Strive together with your miniller in 
your prayers to God for him. There is no way more 
effedual to prepare him for ferving you in the gofpel, 
and there is no way more proper for preparing you to 
attend upon his miniftry. If you make confcience of 
this duty, you will come to receive the anfwer of your 
prayers, and indeed to hear the word of God. Alas ! 
that there fliould be fo few of our hearers of this charita- 
ble, fympathifing kind. We have fome ftupid and in- 
fenfible hearers, fome proud and difdainful hearers, many 
criticifing and cenfuring hearers, but few praying hearers. 
Let all that fear God give themfelves to this duty. And 
let them not only remember that corner of God's vine- 
yard in which their own lot is call, but the kingdom of 
Chrift in general ; and pray, that his name may be great, 
*' from the rifing of the fbn, unto his going down," 
Amen. 



[ 453 ] 



■- V ^ ^>~ >~.y >/->/■ .y~./~ w«- v-v 



Prayer for National Prosperity and for the Revival 
of Religion infeparably conne(5led. 



SERMON 40. 



Preached on Thurfday, February 16, 1758, being the day 
appointed in Scotland for the late Public Fall. 



ISAIAH, li. 9. 

j/iivake, cnvake^ put on strength^ arm of the LORD .• 
Axvake as in the ancient days in the generations of old. 
Art not thou it that hath cut ^ahab atjd wounded the 
dragon. 

My Brethren, 

WE are this day called by our fovereign to the duty 
of folemn fafting and humiliation, and to earned 
prayer for the blefling of God on his councils and arms. 
Religion and humanity confpire in urging us to a hearty 
compliance, efpecially while public affairs wear fo threat- 
ening an afpett, It ought alio to awaken the attention, 
and increafe the ferioufnefs of every particular worfhip- 
ing aflembly, that they are joining \vith fo many others 
in intreating deliverance from thefe national calamities, 
in which all are equally4;oncerned. 

We have often, for fome years pad, profeffed to humble 
ourfelves in the fight of God, and have done it, alas ! with 
a fhameful coldnefs and indifference, or with an hypocri* 
iy flill more criminal. But it is remarkable, that fuch i^ 
the fituation of affairs at prefent, as hath given an alarm 



454 ' Prayer for National Prosperity 

even to fomc of the moft infenfible, and con drained them 
to confider this duty as now fomevvhat more than a form. 
There has been for fome time pad, fuch a continuance 
and increafe of public judgments, fuch a feries of abortive 
projetls, and broi^en difconcerted fchemes, as makes the 
molt obdinate and inconfiderate Hand and paufe, and feri- 
oufly aflc, Is there not a caufe ? 

Our fetting apart this day, and applying ourfelves to 
the duty of fading and prayer, implies a confeflion of the 
power and providence of God. 

It implies, that we believe in him, as the Almighty 
Creator, and righteous Governor of the world ; the fu- 
preme Difpofer of everydwent, and fovereign Arbiter of 
the fate of nations. How were it to be wiflied, that there 
was a jud fenfe of this truth on the minds of all of every 
rank ! And that, in all who are in any meafure fincere 
on this occafion, the impreflion may not be tranllent and 
partial, but lading and effectual ! It diould excite us to a 
holy jealoufy over ourfelves, that we have fo often effayed 
the like duty without any apparent fuccefs. " Is there un- 
" righteoufnefs with God ? God forbid !" The fault, 
doubtlefs, lies in ourfelves. Our fads have not been llich 
as God has chofen, and therefore he hath refufed to hear 
our prayers. 

In general, no doubt the evidence and the effefl ofar^ 
acceptable fad, is repentance com pleated by reformation. 
Where this is wanting, we are judly liable to the charge 
brought by the prophet Ifaiah againd the children of Ifrael, 
** Bring no more vain oblations, incenfe is an abominati- 
*' on unto me, the new moons and labbaths, the calling of 
*' afiemblies I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the 
" folemn meeting. Your new moons, and your appoint- 
" ed feads my foul hateth, they are a trouble unto me, I 
*^ am weary to bear them. And when ye fpread forth 
** your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you : yea, when 
*' ye make many prayers, I will not hear : your hands are 
*' full of blood.''fl There is no quedion but the unre- 
ftraincd flood of impiety which has overfpread this natian, 

« Ifa. i. 13, 14, 15. 



and Reiihal of Religion, 455 

fblicits divine vengeance, and prevents the efficacy even 
of the fincere prayers that are offered up for deliverance 
and mercy. But as, with refpecl to particular perfons, 
every error or defedl in pra£lice is the confequence of an 
erroneous or defedive principle, as every vicious aftion 
proceeds from an impure heart; fo, in a national capacity, 
I am perfuaded that our fafling and prayer has been fun- 
damentally wrong, or effentially defei^ive in itfelf, and 
therefore, has been followed by little or no fenjible fruit ; 
or rather that impiety, which it fhould have removed, it 
hath only contributed to increafe. 

For this reafon my intention at this time is to point 
out to you what is the juft and proper object of prayer for 
divine aid in a time of public calamity, as well as th« 
great encouragement to its exercife. For this there is a 
proper foundation in the paffage of Scripture juft read in 
your hearing. In the former pmrt of the chapter, the pro- 
phet had pronounced many gracious promifes, of inward 
and fpiritual profperity, and of outward protedlion and fe- 
curity to the church, though furrounded and threatened, 
by enemies to her interells in both refpeds. He then 
changes the form of his difcourfe, perfonates believers, 
and in their name, as one of them, addreffes to God the 
prayer in the text, '' Awake, awake, put on ftrength, O 
*' arm of the Lord : awake as in the ancient days, in the 
" generations of old : art not thou it that hath cut Rahab 
*' and wounded the dragon ?" 

The beauty and flrength of this language, the juftnefs- 
and force of the figures here ufed, it is almofi impoffible 
to overlook. The prophet prays for fuch a difplay of di- 
vine power and mercy as might be fignal and fenfible. 
" Awake, awake, put on flrength," that is, exert thy 
power, difcover thy glory in fuch a manner, as that thy 
prefent forbearance may be like the vigor of a waking 
man, compared to the defencelefs and inactive ftate of 
one that is fafl: alleep. " O arm of the Lord." This ex- 
preffion, the arm of the Lord, with the addition of making 
bare his holy arm, is frequently ufed in Scripture ; and it 
is fo ftrong, and at the fame time, fo intelligible a figure, 
that it is impoffible to amplify or explain, without weak- 



45^ Prayer for National Prosperity 

enihg it. In the laft part of the verfe, he animates hiS 
own faith, and enforces his requcft, by calling to remem- 
brance pafl: tranfadlions, and former difplays of the power 
and grace of an unchangeable God. By Rahab and the 
dragon we are to underdand Egypt and her king, as ap- 
pears by comparing other paflages of Scripture, particular- 
ly by Pf. Ixxxvi. 4. and Ezek. xxix. 3. the lall of which 
runs thus : " Thus faith the Lord, Behold, I am againft 
" thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth 
*' in the midit of his rivers : which hath laid, my river is 
*' mine own, and I have made it for myfelf." 

In dicourfing on this fubjed", what I propofe, through 
the alliliance ol divine grace, is, ' 

I. To point out to you the import of this prayer in the 
firfl p:irt of this paflage, '' Awake, awake, put on ilrength, 
" O arm of th^ Lord." 

IF. To confider the encourajiijement included in the lad 
part of it, " Awake as in ancient days, in the generations 
*' of old : art not thou it that hath cut Rahab, and wound- 
*' ed the dragon V 

III. To apply the fubjcQ to our prefent fituation. 

And we are to confider, 

I. The meaning and import of the prayer : " Awake, 
*' awake, put on Ilrength, O arm of the Lord." And in 
this I have no hope either of inftrudling or perfuading any 
but thole who have fome meafure of real religion, who da 
unfeignedly believe, and will, when called upon, recollect 
the conftant fuperintendency of Divine Providence. Thefe 
only will be fenfible that, as every event is directed and 
over-ruled by the Almighty, fo there are righteous, wife 
and gracious purpofes to be ferved by them. All men it 
is true, are ready to complain under diflrefs. The moll 
wicked and profligate, *' when the waters are gone inta 
*' their foul," when they feel their mifery, will cry for re- 
lief. And, as they will turn them on every hand, and 
Jay hold on every twig that may aflbrd the leall profpedt of^ 



and Re'iihal of Religion. 457 

faviilg them from finking, fo the terror of divine power, 
with which public calamity is fometimes accompanied, 
will even make them cry unto God. But there is a great 
difference, between this complaint of the miferable, and 
the prayer of faith, which proceeds upon jufl: viev/s of the 
nature and government of God, and is affured of fuccefs. 
It may fometimes pleafe God to make ufe of defolating 
judgments or alarming public ftrokes to awaken a fecure 
thoughtlefs generation ; but dutiful, acceptable and fuc- 
cefsful prayer for their removal, can only be the work of 
his own children. 

Perhaps it may be thought unneceflary to direifl perfons 
of this chara<5ter to the proper objedl of their prayers, as 
they mud be fuppofed habitually to flow from right prin- 
ciples, and to point at ju ft and warrantable ends. But it 
is certain, that, when wickednefs and profanenefs greatly 
and univerfally prevail in any nation, the real fervants of 
God are not only few in number, but even this little flock, 
always receives fome degree of infedlion. This we are 
taught to expefl by ourblefled Saviour, who fays, " And 
" becaufe iniquity fliall abound, the love of many fliall 
*' wax cold." They may both be negligent and defec- 
tive in their duty, reftraining prayer before God, and may 
be in a great meafure unmindful of the great and princi- 
]-»al views with which they ought to offer up their inter- 
ceffory requells. But, hoping that all fuch among you as 
are jullly liable to this charge, will difcern the light, and 
feel the force of divine truth, it is my defire to flir up yout 
pure minds by way of remembrance. 

And, in general, fuch a petition as this, *' Awake, 
" awake, put on llrength, O arm of the lord," fuggefls to 
us, that our prayers for divine interpofition and deliver- 
ance from public calamities fliould be fupremely diredled 
to the glory of God. This, as it is, upon the whole, the 
leading purpofe of every real believer, fo it ought to hallow 
every fingle action, and purify every particular defire. 
Therefore our prayers mult be conceived in fuch a manner, 
and our delires after deliverance mud be fo qualified, that 
the lupreme honor due to God may be preferved invio- 
late, that duty may maintain its precedency before inter- 

VoL. II. 3 M 



4§^ Prayer for National Prosperity 

efl:, and fin may be ft ill more feared and avoided than fuf- 
ferin,^. The .qreat end both ofperlb-nal affllftion, and na- 
tional corretVion, is to weaken our attachment to prefent 
and temporal enjoyment, by flaininpr its >ilorv, and con- 
vincing us of its vanity. If then our chief or only aim, 
in aflcing deliverance from outward calaniity, is that we 
may a;^ain recover the eafe and quiet of fecurity, and the 
pleafure of plenty, though we may feem to honor God by 
imploring his aid, yet is our homage really given to a fen- 
fual idol. 

That this is neither impoflible nor unfrequent, is plain 
from the hiftory ef the children of Ifrael. They ofren ap- 
plied to God in their liraits : " When he flew them, then 
*' they fou;^ht him, they returned and enquired early af- 
*' ter God."^ But this fort of feeking, merely for pre- 
fent relief, or temporal mercies, was far from being ac- 
ceptable to him. We are told, that it was tempting God, 
thus " to alk meat for their luit."^ In oppofition to this, 
let us look into the grounds afligned in Scripture lor God's 
grantin?- deliverance, and thence learn with what views 
we ougtit to iniplore it. The Pialmifl fays, " Never- 
*' thclefs he favedthem for his name's lake, that he might 
" make his mighty power to be known. 'V And the pro- 
phet Ezekicl, '' But I wrought for my name's fake, that 
*' it fhould not be polluted before the Heathen among 
*' whom they were, in whofe fight I made myfelf known 
" to them, in bringing tl en: forth out of the land of Egvpt." 

But in order to illullrate this a little further, oblcrve, 
that ajull regard to the glory of God, in our prayers, im- 
plies the two following tilings. Intl^e firll place, That we 
txpttt deliverance fron) Gcd alone, defire that it may be 
attended with fuch circumliances as his hand and power 
mav be {ttn m it, and are willing to acknowledge him as 
the fupreme and only Author of it. This is plainly in- 
cluded in the words of the prophet, " Awake, awake, pnt 
*' on firength. O arm of the Lord," As if he had Aiid, In 
thee alone is our hope ; " curled be the man that maketh 
*' flefli his arm." A profane irreligious people are always 

<j Pful. Ixxviii. 34. 3 Tfiil. Ixxviii. 18. c PLl. cvi. 8- 



And Revhal of Religion, 459 

prone, in undertaking any enterprize, to put their trufl: 
in human provvefs, to glory and boaft in the greatnefs of 
their ilrength. And when they are difnppointed in their 
expectations, they are ready to dwell fo much upon fe- 
coiid caules, that they entirely overlook, or are with great 
difficulty brought to acknowledge the Tupreme agency of 
God. We may, however be fenfibie, by his taking to 
hirnfelf fo often, in Scripture, the title of the Lord of hofls, 
" great in might and llrong in battle," that fuch conduct 
is robbing him ol" the glory that is juilly his due. Ma- 
ny are the warnings we have in the word of God not 
to place too much confidence in any human means of 
fafety. " Put not your truit iii princes (Cays the Plalmift) 
" nor in the fon of man in whom there is no help.^ There 
'*• is no king faved by the multitude of an hoft : a mighty 
*' man is not delivered by much Ilrength. An horfe is a 
*' vain thing for fafety, neither can he deliver any by his 
*' great ilrength."^ And there is no Scripture truth more 
frequently, or more fenfibly confirmed in the courfe of 
providence. How often do we find, both in former and 
later ages, the events of war diametrically oppofite to the 
greateft human probability, and the molt confident hu» 
iTian expectation ? 

Now pruyer for divine interpofition fliould always be 
made under a deep impreffion of this truth. And mdeed 
we ihall never come to importunity and fervency in 
prayer for fuch a mercy, till we are fomewhat affcftec| 
with it. All the honor that is given to man is taken from 
God. AH trult and dependance on human means as fuch, 
or on their own account, divides and weakens our reli- 
ance on God. But when he is confidered as the fingle 
and only iburce of relief, we apply with that ardor and 
earnellnefs which necelfity and extremity fugged. This 
doth not hinder the diligent ufe and application of outward 
means, but keeps theui in their proper place, induces U5 
to aflv the divine blelling upon them, and prevents us from 
provoking the divine jealoufy by idolizing and trulUng ir\ 
them. 

^ Pf. cxivi. 3. *pfixxxrll. 16, 17, 



460 Prayer for National Prosperity 

It ought alfo to be our defire, tliat the glory of divine 
power may vifibly fliine in our deliverance ; not only 
that his hand may do it, but that his hand may be feen in 
it, and, if poflible, to the conviction of all. Nothing is 
more impious, and nothing more provoking to God,lhao 
when men arrogate to themfelves the honor of what they 
have done by his help, or acquired by the bounty of his 
providence. Here the language of the proud monarch of 
the eaft, " Is not this great Babylon that I have built, for 
*' the houfe of the kingdom, by the might of my power, 
" and for the honor of my majefty V'a But mark the 
unexpected change by the more powerful word of the 
King of kings. *' When the word was in the king's 
*' mouth there fell a voice from heaven, fiiying, O King 
*' Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is fpoken, the kingdom is 
*' departed from thce."*^ How often in Scripture is the 
defl:ru6lion and punifhment of kings and princes afcribed 
to their felf-fufficiency, infolence and pride ? Thus in 
that remarkable prophecy againft the king of Babylon : 
*' For thou haft faid in thine heart, I will afcend into 
*' heaven, I will exalt my throne above the flars of God : 
*' I will lit alfo upon the mount of the congregation in 
*'the fides of the north. I will afcend above the heights 
*' of the clouds. I will be like the moft High. Yet thou 
" flialt be brought down to hell, to the fides of the pit. 
*' They that fee thee, fliall narrowly look upon thee and 
*' confider thee, faying, Is this the man that made the 
" earth to tremble, that did fliake kingdoms ? I'hat made 
*' the world as a wildernefs, and deftroyed the cities there- 
*' of; that opened not the houfe of his prifoners r'V How 
ftrongly does this prove, that in order to pray acceptably 
for the interpofition of divine Providence, we fliould be 
willing that God alone fliould have the honor entire and 
undivided. " That the lofty looks of man fliould be hum- 
*' bled, and the haughtinefs of man fhould be bowed down, 
" and the Lord alone exalted in that day."</ Was it not 
thus that the ancient warriors of the holy nation fought and 
profpered ? In confidence of divine aid, or refigncd to 

oDan.iv.30. <^Vcp31. c If. x5v. 13, 17. <^If.ii,lU 



and Rem'oal of Religion. 46't 

the divine will, they vent out and played the men for 
their people and the cities of their God. And when they 
had done fo, they acknowledjred that his right hand and 
his holy arm had gotten him the vi6lory. See the fong 
of Mofes on his viftory over the Egyptians. " Thy righlf 
hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power : Thy right 
*' hand, O Lord, has daflied in pieces the enemy. And 
*' in the greatnefs of thine excellency thou haft overthrown 
*' them that rofe up againft thee : Thou fenteft forth thy 
*' wrath, which confumed them as ftubble<7." 

I cannot conclude this branch of the fubjedt without 
obferving, that we have had in the courfe of Providence 
a very receipt inllance, both of a fingular appearance of 
the hand of God in defence of a righteous caufe, and a 
modeft afcription of it to the power of the Higheft. That 
prince, who appears novv' to be the chief outward fupport 
of the proteftant caufe in Europe, has been enabled lite- 
rally (according to the ancient promife) "with live to 
*' chalb a hundred, and with a hundred to put ten thou- 
*' fand to flight." The greateft earthly potentates had 
combined againft him and confpired his ruin. Affured 
of vi6\ory, they were forging chains for his followers, 
and dividing his inheritance by lot. But in the name of 
the Lord he fet up his ftandard. The Lord turned the 
counfels of his enenues into confufion. His vidories 
have been numerous, extraordinary and important^ 
And he hath all along avoided boafting and vain-glory, 
and piouOy acknowledged that " Salvation belongeth un- 
to God." 

In the fecond place, in applying to God for an extraorr 
dinary interpofition of his providence, we ought alfo to 
pray for a difpenfation of his grace and mercy. When 
we pray that the arm of the Lord may awake and put on 
ftrength, it Ihould be that a revival of religion may ac- 
company temporal relief, and that by a plentiful efFufion 
of the Holy Spirit many finners may be delivered from 
the Vv'orit of bondage, and brought to the glorious liberty 
pf the children of God. As this fliould be in itfelf the 

q Ex. XV. 6, 7. 



4^2 Prayer for National Prosperity 

objefl of our defire, fo it ftiould be infeparably joined 
"With the otuer, and their mutual connexion (liil kept in 
view. Temporal mercies to a nation, as well as to par- 
ticular perlbiis, ought always to be made fubfcrvient to the 
promoting of truth and righteoufnefs. It is remarkable, 
that thefe two things are always joined in Scripture. And, 
indeed, if teiporal mercies be confidered in the liglit I 
formerly mentioned, it is impoflible that they can be 
afunder. Let any one confult the interceffory prayers in 
which deliverance from external calamity is intreated, 
the prophecies in which it is promifed, or the fongs of 
praile in which it is celebrated, and he will find, that the 
purity and fpiritual profperity of God's heritage is Hill 
kept in view. They are considered as involved in one 
another, and the one, as only valuable, becaufe leading 
to the other. Inflead of enumerating many palTages, I 
fhall only mention one of the prophet Ifaiah. •' And I 
^' will turn mine hand upon thee, and purely purge away 
•' all thy drofs and take away all thy tin. And I will re- 
" ilore thy judges as at the firil, and thy counfellors as 
•'at the beginning: Afterward thou flialt be called the 
*' city of righteoufnefs, the faitliful city. Zion fliall be 
**■ redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righte- 
*' oufnefs.'' 

And, my brethren, is not the arm of the Lord and the 
glory of his power particularly difpiayed, wdien the influ- 
ence and dominion of error is delhoyed, and the obllina- 
cy and rebellion of (inners is fubdued ? This is a more 
extraordinary, as well as a more excellent effcft of pow- 
er, than producing the greateft changes in our outwarcj; 
if ate and condition. It fcems to be on this account that, 
in Scripture, the Saviour of finncrs, the king of Zion, is 
fo often reprefented as glorious in his perfon, and great in 
his power, " For unto us a child is born, unto us a foi"^ 
*' is given, and the government flhill be upon his fhoul- 
*' der, and iiis name Ihall be called "Wonderful, Counfel- 
*' lor, the mighty God, the everlafting Father, the Prince 
♦* of peace.iZ Gird thy fword upon thy thigh, O moft. 

« likiah, ix. 6. 



a7id Eeijhal of Religion. 463 

*' Mi<Thty : with thy glory and thy majeRy. And in thy 
" majedy ride prolperoafly^ becaufe of truth and meek- 
" nefs and righteoufnefs ; and thy right hand (hall teach 
" thee terrible thiners."^ Thefe and a niultitade of other 
pafTiges plainly lliow that the converfion ot iinners, and 
defeating the powers of the princes of darknefs, require 
an exertion, and is a fignal difplay of the llrength of the 
divine arms. 

But as it is a matter of the utmoft importance and pro- 
priety at prefent, I muft beg your patience, while I endea- 
vor a little to illuilrate the necclhty of joining eai'nell in- 
terceflion for the revival of religion and the glory of ChriU's 
kingdom, with our prayers for a recovery of national prof- 
peri ty. 

For illudrating this let us attend to the three following, 
particulars. 

1. We have no warrant to afli the lad of thefe without 
the firft. 

2. We have no reafon to expedl that it will be feparate- 
ly beflowed. 

3. If it iliould, in any degree, it would not be a blef- 
fmg but a curie. 

Firlt, we have no warrant to afk national profperity 
without a revival of religion. Our j:«'ayers are then only 
warrantable when we adjud and proportion our efteem of 
the mercies of God to their real worth, and defire them for 
their proper ends. Now, a love to one's country, and a 
dtiivt of its outward welfare, is, no doubt, an excellent 
and an amiable difpofition. But it is much more fo to be 
concerned for their everlalling interefi. Why doth the 
love of our country merit any praife, but becaufe it is a 
difpofition and tendency to communicate happinefs ? But 
what is temporal to eternal happinefs ? What is a fruit- 
ful field to a renewed heart ? Peace at home to peace with 
God ? Security from an earthly oppreflTor, to deliverance 
from the wrath to conie ? A compaffionate heart bleeds for 
the mifery of his fellow-creatures in poverty or bondage ; 
but a fandified heart is. lliii more deeply affedted with the 

a Pfa. xlv. 3, 4. 



4^4 Prayer for National Prospemy 

ignorance and guilt of others, and their endlefs confequen* 
ces. Now is it a warrantable manner of offering up our 
defires to God, to admire or all;: a (liare in the bounty of 
his providence, while we defpife and trample upon ths 
riches of his grace ? 

But that fuch prayers are unwarrantable, doth not only 
appear from the unjufl preference given to leffer before 
greater mercies, but from their being a total perverfion of 
our defu'es from the great point in which they ought to 
centre. The gifts of God are intended to lead us to the 
giver ; the events of his providence to be fubfervient to 
the methods of his grace. When, therefore, we afl^: tem- 
poral profperity, without an equal, or rather fuperior Ibli- 
citude for the enlightening and fanQifying intluences of 
the Holy Gho!}, we are alienating his mercies from their 
proper ufe, turning them into weapons of rebellion againil 
him, and cherifhing that love of the world which is de- 
ftrudive of the love of God. 

Secondly, As all fuch defires are unwarrantable and dif- 
orderly, fo we have no reafon to expe<5l that they fliall be 
granted. Let us recall to mind this important truth, that 
God is the fupreme Uifpofcr of all events. Every prof- 
perous event is the effeft of his bounty. Every calamity 
is the rod of his anger, and carries his commifLon. Are 
there not then wife ends to be I'erved by every thing ap- 
pointed by him ? Affli^Ttion fpringeth not out of the dulh 
National calamity is not the rigor of an arbitrary tyrant^ 
but the wife challifement of a gracious father, or the pu- 
nifhment of a righteous judge. He Fuleth the nations 
*' fitting upon the throne of his holinefs ;" and unlefs 
when he hath a mind to " make a full end," of a ]>eop!e 
Tipe fordedrudion, gives them for a fcafon into the hands 
«f their enemies to bring about their reformation. If then 
public calamity bears a commifiion for this purpofe from 
iiim whole work is perfcft, vvtiat reafon is there to expert, 
that it will be removed before it hath attained its end.^ 
Will he not repeat the Ilroke, and increafe its levcrity^ 
till it procure fubmilHon ? It is true, we cannot precifely 
Hiy how far the forbearance of God may go, or how long 
his patience may endure. There may be a remilTion, or 



am! Revha! of Ke/i^ion^ 46^ 

fufpennoil of the final firoke, for their farther trial. But 
it is certain that: when there is no returning to God by re- 
pentance, there can be no reafonable ground to hope that 
his diipleafure will ceafe, or its efFe6\s be removed. 

Thirdly, Though temporal dehverance were granted to 
a nation, in any meafure, without a difpenfation of the 
Spirit and revival of religion, it would be no blefling but 
a curfe, and could not be of any long duration. It would 
be giving them up to themfclves, to fill up the meafure of 
their iniquities, that, v/hen the appointed time of ven^ 
geance fliould come, their deflruftion might be more ter- 
rible and fignal. It is remarkable, that this is found a- 
tnong ihQ jndg merits of God, and reckoned one of the 
moil f''-eadful, when he ceafes to drive with a people, and' 
gives hem up to themfelves. Thus he fays, by the Pfal- 
mifi, " But my people would not hearken to my voice, 
" Ifrael would have none of me, fo I gave them up to 
" their own hearts lulls, and they walked in their own' 
*' counfels."£Z So alfo faith the prophet liofea, " Ephraim 
" is joined to idols, let him alone. "^ The confequence 
of this is the continuance and increafe of all manper of 
wickednefs. Then fpiritual judgments come in the room' 
of temporal, which, though they are lefs fenfible, are but 
lb much the more fatal. Blindnefs of mind, hardnefs of 
heart, and an obdinate contempt of inflrudVion, are the 
ufual confequences of unfandlified profperity. In fucli 
circumllances a nation may exult, and blefs themfelves 
in their abundant wealth ; nay, they may be the envy of 
tlieir fodlifh and fliort-figlUed neighbors ; but to the eye 
b\' faith their condition is moll wretched and deplorable. 
To what a pitch of impiety they may proceed Vv^hen all 
reltrainis are withdrawn, fome nations recorded in hif- 
tory are a (landing and melancholy proof. And the fud* 
den defolation fometimes inflided, after long forbearance, 
by the Lord of nature, on cities and kingdoms, by fire 
from heaven, by earthquakes, pellilence, or the fword, is 
a fearful prelage of the fate of all, v/ho, in the day of re- 
Coiiipence, fhall fufrer the vencreance of eternal fire. 

Vol. it. 3 N 

«* Fiiil. Iszir.u n, 12. h Hof. iv. IT. 



466 Prayer Jor National Prosperity 

All thefe things are plainly founded on the word of 
God, and manitell conftquences of the divine govern- 
ment. They will, however, make very little impreflion 
on a thoughtlefs and fecure generation, plunged in fenfu- 
ality and lull ; and leall of all on thofe, who have esprefs- 
]y lifted themfelves under the banner of infidelity, and 
learned to be profane upon principle. This is one of the 
worft fymptoms of our prefent condition ; the greater our 
guilt, and, therefore, the nearer the danger. Nothing was 
lefs looked for by the Babylonian monarch, in the height 
of his riotous midnight fcaft, than his kingdom's being 
taken from him. And yet how fpeedily was it accom- 
plifhed, and in how fliort a time was this fuperb and opu- 
lent city, the " beauty of the Chaldees excellency," turn- 
ed into a ruinous heap ta 

I proceed now to the fecond general head, which was : 

II. To confider a little the encouragement to prayer, 
contained in the lall part of the text : " Awake as in the 
** ancient da) s, as in the generations of old," 8j.c. 

In this the prophet animates his faith, and encourages 
his own dependance and that of others upon the promifes 
of God, by celebrating the greatnefs of his power, as ma- 
nifefted in former memorable deliverances granted to his 
chofen people. He continues his addrefs to the arm of 
the Lord : and, inftead of an enumeration of the mighty 
adls of this arm in ancient days, and the generations of 
old, he fixes upon one fignal and leading dilplay of divine 
majefty and power, in the dellrudion of the Egyptians, 
and the deliverance of Ifrael from that fuhje(^\ion and bon- 
dage in which they were formerly held by that people. 
This is done with the higheft propriety ; for the deliver, 
ance of Ifrael from Egyptian bondage was moft remarka- 
ble and extraordinary in its circumftances, and the hand 
of God did moft eminently appear in it. Thus the pro- 
phet fays j in the verfe immediately following the text: 
*' Art not thou it, which halh dried the fea, the waters of 
*' the great deep, that hath made the deeps of the fea a way 
*' for the raufomed to pafs over?'' From this appearance 

e See Ifaiah xiii. 2 1 , to the cikU 



' and Re'vhal of Religion, 467 

in behalf of Ifrael, God often takes his defignatlon : this 
chiefly conflituted the fpecial relation between him and 
the people of Ifrael ; and on this their obligation to obe- 
dience is founded in the preface or introduction to the mo- 
ral law ; " I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee 
** out of the land of Egypt, out of the houfe of bondage." 
And indeed this deliverance is often confidered and jultly, 
as typical of the ftill more important deliverance of the 
eledl of God from fin and mifery. 

Now let us confider a little the effeCl of fuch a view up- 
on the mind, and its influence in prayer. This, I thinlf 
may be included in the two following particulars : 

Fird, it fatisfies us of the power of God, and his ability 
to fave. There can be no prayer addrelTed to God for 
relief and deliverance in an acceptable manner, but what 
proceeds upon a confidence in his power. And there is 
in men, for the moll: part, on this fubjedt a very imperfedl 
and wavering perfuafion. Nay, there is often a greater 
degree of unbelief, than they themfelves are fenfible of, or 
didindlily apprehend. They are often fo held captive by 
{QWiQ^ and their attention fo much taken up and engrofled 
by outward means and inflruments, that they are back- 
ward to believe, or rely even on an almighty, becaufe an 
invifible power. This was the cafe often with the chil- 
dren of ifrael, even alter repeated proofs of the ftrength of 
the divine arm. Thus fays the Pfalmill : *' How oft did 
*' they provoke him in the wildernefs, and grieve him in 
*' the defart ? Yea, they turned back and tempted God, 
*' and limited the holy One of Ifrael. They remembered 
*' not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from 
*' the enemy. "d! Againil this unhappy tendency, God, 
by the prophet, warns his people, a few verfes after the 
text: ''I, even I, am he that comforteth you ; who art 
*' thou, that thou Ihouldil be afraid of a man that fhall die, 
*' and of the fon of man which fliall be made as grafs ? 
*^ And forgetteth the Lord thy Maker, that hath ftretched 
*^ forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth ? 
[[ And hall feared continually every day, becaufe of th^ 

9 Pfal. Ixxvili. 40, 41, 42. 



4^8 Prayer for National Prosperity 

*' fury of the opprefior, as If be were ready to defiroy ; and 
" where is the fury of the opprcffur:"^ And indeed no- 
thing can be more fupporting under fuch fears, than to 
reujember the indances in which God hath formerly made 
his power known. It is, as it were, realizing the divine 
perfcilions, ?ind making us to fee him who is invifible. Ii^ 
this very way does the Pfalmift recover from a difconfolate 
flate, and dark difcouraging views of divine providence. 
*' Hath God forgotten to be gracious ; hath he in anger 
*' lliut up his tender mercies ? Selah. And I faid, this is 
*' my infirmity, but I will remember the years of the right 
*' hand of the moil High. I will remember the works 
^' of the Lord ; furely I will remember thy wonders of 
*' old, I will meditate alfo of all thy Vvorks and talk of thy 
*' doings. '*^ 

In the fecond place, the fame view ferves to afcertain us 
of the mercy of God, and his readinels to help us in dii- 
trefs. It is not enough that we have ever fo unlliaken a 
f ei fuafion of the power of God, unlefs v/e have fome 
ground to believe that it Ihall appear in our behalf. Now 
former initances of extraordinary providential deliverance 
not only aflbrd a proof of divine power, but fliew us in 
what cafes we have reafon to expedl that it fhall be exert- 
ed. That part of the providence of God which is already 
open to our view, enables us, from analogy, to infer what 
iliall be his fubfequent condudl ; at lealt fo far as to di- 
rect and encourage us in our own duty. We know for 
example, that he is a refuge in times of trouble to thofe 
that are in diftrefs : and that in extremity, when all hu- 
man help fails, then is deliverance more to the glory, of 
God. By this very argument doe§ Jehofliaphat conclude 
and enforce his prayer. " O our God, wilt thou not judge 
*' them ? for wo. have no might againftthis great company 
*' that cometh againfl: us ; neither know we vyhat to do, 
" but our eyes are upon thee."f 

We know alio that his iaithfulnefs is engaged to hear 
thofe, who, refufingto lean on any broken reed, or truil- 
ing any refuge of lies, place their confidence in him a- 

«Ifa. li. 12, 13. b J^f^. J^xvji. ?, 10, 1 }, 12. c 2 Chron. xx.. 12. 



and Re'uhal of Religion. 4691 

lone ; and that the glory of God is immediately and chief- 
ly concerned, in the fupport and prefervation of his own 
people. They fee that he hath, in all agec, counted this 
his own caufe ; and therefore they fay with the Pfulmift; 
■*' They that know thy name will put their trufi in thee, 
*' for thou Lord had not forfaken them that feek thee. "a 
In fine, former inftances of extraordinary deliverance 
point out the p-eat end and defign of fuch interpofitions. 
That they are for promoting of truth and righteoufnefs, and 
to make thofe who are the objeds of them, chearful and 
willing fervants to God ; not only partakers of the bounty 
of his providence, but monuments of the riches of his 
grace. " In that day fliall this long be lung in the land 
.*' of Judah. We have a llrong city, falvation will God 
" appoinc for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, 
" that the righteous nation, that keepeth the truth may en- 
*' ter \\\.b Violence Ihall no more be heard in thy land, 
*' walling and deflruftion within thy borders ; but thoi4 
*' flialt call thy walls falvation and thy gates praife.'V 
From all which it appears that, in prayer properly war- 
ranted, and rightly dire£lcd, it mull give unfpeakable con- 
fidence and hope, to furvey the remarkable inftances of 
divine providence, and thence take encouragement to 
commit our caufe to, and refl our hope on, the fame un- 
changeable God. 

I conclude this head with obferving. That in the ex- 
preffion of the prophet, " Art thou not it that hath cut 
*' Rahab and wounded the dragon," he hath a particular 
view to the eternity and immutabilit)'- of God. " He is 
*' the fame yefterday, to-day, and forever." If he hath 
done great and marvellous things in the moll diflantages, 
*■' his hand is not fliortened that it cannot fave, neither his 
^' ear heavy that it cannot hear ;" his flrength is not im- 
paired by exercife, nor his fulnefs wafled by comnmnica- 
tion. Such an argument would not hold with regard to 
man, whofe power is fo exceeding mutable, and his 
ilrength fo exceeding liable to decay. It is recorded in 
Jliflory, that an old Ronian, Milo, who in his youth was a 

c Pf. ix. 10. ^ If. xxvi. 1; ?. clf. Ix. 18. 



479 Prayer /or National Prosperity 

prodigy of ftrength, happened to live to old ajje ; and that 
be uled often to weep when he looked on his arms, his 
once nervous and vigorous arms, and Taw the wrinkled 
and decayed finews, and the weak, feeble (late to which 
they were reduced by time. But this is not, cannot be 
the cafe with the arm of the Lord His (Irength and (la- 
bility, particularly as oppofed to created weaknefs and 
frailty, is often declared in Scripture. Thus in the fol- 
lowinfT fuhlime pail'age of the propliet Ifaiah. " And the 
*' voice laid, Cry. And he faid what fliall I cry ? All 
" flefli is grafs, and all the goodlinefs thereof is as the flow- 
*' er of the field. The grafs withereth, die flower fadeth ; 
" becaufe the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it : liirely - 
*' the people is grafs. The grafs withereth, the flower fa- 
** deth : bat the word our God fliall ftand forever."^ 

I proceed now in the lalt place to apply the truths you 
have heard on this fubjedt to our own prefent fituation, as 
to public affairs. 

And firft. Is not our Rate, both as a nation, and as a 
church, exceedingly fallen and low : and have we not the 
greatell need to addrefs this prayer in the text, " Awake, 
*' awake, put on ftrength, O arm of the Lord ?" May we 
not take our low and fallen ftate as a nation from the uni- 
verfal confeffion of all without exception, however oppofed 
in fentiments or intereft ? Every clafs and denomination 
of men among us, every party and faction, however un- 
willing each may be to acknowledge its own fhare of the 
guilt, and however prone to load its adverfaries with the 
blame of procuring it, is yet willing to acknowledge that 
we are at prefent in a diilrefied, and in a contemptible 
iiate. 

And indeed the thing itfelf fpeaks. We have of late 
fuffered under a variety of public llrokes. We have not 
only had, for fome time pafl, repeated threatenings of 
fcarcity and dearth, but va(l multitudes have been affli6led 
with famine in its rigor, which is one of God's " fore 
*' judgments." Through the mercy of God this is allevi- 
ated in fome meafure at prefent, but far from being entircr 

« If. xl. 6. 



and Revival of Rel'ig ion, 47 1 

ly removed. We have alfo been long engaged in war 
with a powerful and politic enemy. And has not the pro- 
vidence of God fenfibly frowned on us, and vifibly trullra- 
ted almoll every oiie of our attempts ? This hath been the 
cafe to a degree hardly known in any former inftance^ 
We have "■ turned our backs faint-hearted before our ene- 
** mies," in almoll every encounter; and the greater and 
more formidable our preparations for any enterprize, the 
more pitiiul the iffue, and the more ihannrful our defeat 
and difappointment. Has there not been an obftruded 
trade, a lofs of territory, a lofs of honor, and expence of 
treafure ? Is not this nation, once in a manner the arbi- 
trefs of the fate of Europe, now become the fcorn and de- 
rifion of her neighbours and all that are round about her ? 
What weak and divided councils among thofe that prefide? 
Inftead of any genuine public fpirit, a proud and fadious- 
endeavor to difgrace each other's meafures, and wreft the 
enfigns of government out of each other's hands. How 
numerous and expenfive, but how ufelefs and inactive, 
have been our fleets and armies ? And how deplorable is 
the condition of our colonies abroad? They are the chief 
theatre of the war, becaufe, indeed, they are the fubje6l of 
the conteft. And furely it is affedling to think of the un^ 
natural barbarity and cruelty that there is often exercifed, 
when no age or fex is fpared. It is true, the diftance of 
the place niay probably make us lefs fenflble of their mife- 
ry. But if it pleafe God to fufFer our enemies to continue 
their progrefs, it is hard to fay how far the defolation may 
extend, or how univerfal it may prove. 

Are we not alfo in a very low and fallen ftate as a 
church, or a nation, flill retaining fome profeffion and 
form of religion ? This will be found to correfpond with 
the other, as the caufe with the effedt. How have all 
ranks, from the highefl: to the lowed, corrupted their 
ways ? How grofs and prevalent is infidelity, under- 
mining the principles of natural, with the fame zeal and 
eagernefs, with which it formerly endeavored to weaken 
the foundations of revealed religion ? How many of high 
rank have wholly deferted the houfe and vvorfhip of God, 
nay, openly and boldly treat his fervice aud fervants with 



47 5 Prayeirfor AWonal Prosperity 

contempt ? How often do we obferve fnch, with a cri- 
minal and infolent felfcontradtQion, trample upon the 
ver}^ laV'S againfl profiinenefs which they contribute to' 
make ? And, with how much zeal and dihgence does 
the lower part of the nation emulate the higher, in that 
Vi'hich is the reproach of both ? So great is the preva- 
lence of irreligion, contempt of God, fenfuality and pride, 
that many of the groOell crimes are not only pradlifed 
but profcffrd, not only frequent but open, not only per- 
illed in but gloried in and boalbd of: infomuch, that it 
requires no fmall degree of fortitude and refolution, fled- 
fallly to adhere to the principles and charaQer of a difci- 
ple ofChrift, in oppofition to the fpirit and llrain of fafii- 
ionable converfation. 

It is not, indeed, to be wondered at, that not only this 
riation, but the protcflant Hates of Europe in general 
fliould be brought under the rod, as they have fo (hame- 
fully departed from tliat purity of faiih and ilri^lnefs of 
morals which was the glory of the reformation. How 
many have of late been alhamed of the crofs of Chrift, 
and tlie doctrine of the grace of God ? And v/!^.at hath 
been fubdituted in their room ? A pliant and fafliionable 
fcheme of religion, a fine theory of virtue and morality. 
A beautiful but unfubRantial idol, raifed by human pride, 
adorned and drclfed by human art, and fupported by the 
wifdom €f "words. And bath it not, in this, as in every 
preceding age, in this, as in every other chrilVian coun- 
try, whenever it gained any credit, been the fore-runner 
and brought fall at its heels a deluge of profanenefs and 
innnorality in pradlice ? Can any of thefe things be call- 
ed in quefiion ? And are not they, as well as many 
more which might eafily be enumerated, the melancholy 
proofs of our degenerate and corrupt character? 

hi the lecond place. From what hath been faid you 
may fee what wrong meafures we have hitherto taken for 
removin'jf tkefe evils, fo far aS we have been feiifible of 
them. Our gracious fovereign hath, indeed, been pleafed 
to point cTitour duty, by calling us annuallv to fading 
aind huMiiiiation. Bu: with the far greater num.ber it hath 
been no more than an unmeanin-^ and lifclefs form : and 



and Rei}hal of Religion. 4^3 

they have continued dill in the fame forgetfuhiefs and 
contempt of God. You have heard above that nothing 
is more contrary to the genuine fpirit of intercefibry pray- 
er in public calamity, than putting truR in an arm of fleili. 
And yet, is there any thing with which this nation is at 
prefent more jurtly chargeable ? Nothing is more appa- 
rent from the very face of our common channels of intel- 
ligence. In the cafe of difappointments, on the one hand, 
are we not ungovernable and headflrong in our refent- 
ment againfl men ? and equally foolifli and fanguine on 
the other, in our hopes of thofe who are fubftituted in their 
place ? We give pompous drtails of armaments, and 
prophefy, nay, even in a manner defcribe their vi6lories, 
long before the feafon of aiflion ; and incautiouily celebrate 
the characters of leaders, while they are only putting on 
the harnelb, and going into the field. What proud and 
arrogant fentiments do we often exprefs on the fubjedt 
of our national courage, and ancient Britilh fire, as it is 
called ? In fliort, we feem to have got entirely into that 
vain-glorious, oflentatious fyftcm, udth which we ufed 
to upbraid our neighbor and rival nation ; and they feem 
to have given it up in our favor, and to have adopted the 
wifer and more profitable method, of putting deeds for 
words. 

And how negligent have we been of promoting, or 
praying for the interell of religion ? You have heard, 
that Vv'hen the arm of the Lord puts on Ib'ength, it mufl be 
to appoint falvation for walls and bulwarks to a people. 
But how few difcover any concern upon this fubjet^ ? 
The want of public fpirit, in thole Vv'ho retain any Jenfe 
of religion, is an evidence of its low andlanguilhing (late. 
When it is livel3% it will alv/ays be communicative. 
Love toGodandloveto man, the twogreatbranchesof prac- 
tical religion, neceflarily imply a concern for its progrefs. 
And yet, fo rare is any thing of this kind, that when it ap- 
pears as a fort of prodigy, it is looked upon, by mofl, as 
romance and extrav?.gance. Let experience tell, ^if this 
is not often the cafe. When any one appears, in imitation 
of the Scripture faints, to grieve for the fins of others, or 
diicovers any more than ordinary concern for their refor- 

VOL. II. 3 O 



474 Prayer for Natiendl Prosperity 

mation, are not all his endeavors immediately refilled an3 
refented as troublefome, or branded with every name of 

contempt, as vifionary frenzy and enthufiafm .' 

In the third place. From what hath been faid on this 
fubjetl, you may learn what ought to be the great aim of 
every ferious and fenfible Chrillian among us, at prefent 
in his interceffion at the throne of grace, viz. That the 
power of the Almighty may appear in behalf of this nation, 
in fuch a manner, as all may be obliged to fay, " This is 
the doing of the Lord." That, as he ufeth to do on ex- 
traordinary occafions, he may raife up inflruments for 
this purpofe, who may be as polifhed fliafts in his own 
hand, and may have a fmgle eye to his own glory. That 
not for our fakes, who have deferved to be call off for ever, 
but for his own name's fake, he would fupport thofe who 
ilill adhere to the protellant caufe. And, in a particular 
manner, for this end, that he would difcover his power 
and glory in an eminent and remarkable revival of religion 
among all ranks. That our blefled Redeemer, the king 
of Zion, who reigns to all generations, who hath afcend- 
ed up on high, and received gifts for men, would fend 
forth his Spirit in a large and plentiful meafure. That his 
work and power may appear in all his gracious influen- 
ces, convincing and converting fmners, fanftifying, 
cjuickening and comforting believers. That this may be 
a common blcillng on all corners of the land, on perlbns